Alec Baldwin retires from public life in epic ‘I Give Up’ essay, blames Shia LaBeouf, the media and the ‘Gay Department of Justice’
A 'blast'-sized breakdown of the near impenetrable essay Baldwin wrote for New York magazine
But rather than post a simple tweet declaring his quiet departure – only to re-emerge with a freak spate of bizarre performance art incidences and a cannon of Cantona quotes – he decided to go out in the most public way possible: an epic essay called ‘I Give Up’ blasting everyone from the media to LaBeouf himself, published in New York magazine.
His big exit piece follows a string of run-ins with the media that appear to have escalated since a reporter accused his wife Hilaria of tweeting her way through his friend, late Sopranos actor James Gandolfini’s funeral in June 2013. He responded by labelling the male reporter a “toxic little queen”.
In November the same year, he allegedly hurled homophobic abuse at a paparazzi who got too close for comfort. Baldwin apparently called him a “c**ks**king f*g”.
The two incidences saw his popularity take a nosedive with the LGBT community and, ultimately, cost him his job as a talk show host for broadcaster MSNBC.
During his near impenetrable rant, he also blames people like Shia LaBeouf for pushing him to brink of his apparent professionalism - a place it seems he failed to claw his way back to.
So, for those of you who don’t have a full hour to dedicate to analysing this particular tome of celebrity disdain, here it is broken into 'blast-sized' chunks:
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ Shia LaBeouf For Attacking Him ‘In Front Of Everyone’ During Orphans Rehearsal…
“Getting back onstage seemed like a good idea. I loved Lyle Kessler’s play and was anxious to work with director Dan Sullivan. Then Shia LaBeouf showed up. I’d heard from other people that he was potentially very difficult to work with, but I always ignore that because people say the same thing about me. When he showed up, he seemed like a lot of young actors today—scattered, as he was coming from making six movies in a row or whatever.
“There was friction between us from the beginning. LaBeouf seems to carry with him, to put it mildly, a jailhouse mentality wherever he goes. When he came to rehearsal, he was told it was important to memorize his lines. He took that to heart and learned all his lines in advance, even emailing me videos in which he read aloud his lines from the entire play. To prove he had put in the time. (What else do you do in jail?) I, however, do not learn my lines in advance. So he began to sulk because he felt we were slowing him down. You could tell right away he loves to argue. And one day he attacked me in front of everyone. He said, ‘You’re slowing me down, and you don’t know your lines. And if you don’t say your lines, I’m just going to keep saying my lines.’
“We all sat, frozen. I snorted a bit, and, turning to him in front of the whole cast, I asked, ‘If I don’t say my words fast enough, you’re going to just say your next line?’ I said. ‘You realize the lines are written in a certain order?’ He just glared at me.
“So I asked the company to break. And I took the stage manager, with Sullivan, to another room, and I said one of us is going to go. I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll go.’ I said don’t fire the kid, I’ll quit. They said no, no, no, no, and they fired him. And I think he was shocked. He had that card, that card you get when you make films that make a lot of money that gives you a certain kind of entitlement. I think he was surprised that it didn’t work in the theatre[sic].”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ The 'Gay Department Of Justice'…
“I flew to Hawaii recently to shoot a film, fresh on the heels of being labelled a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice. I wanted to speak with a gay-rights group that I had researched and admired, so I called its local Honolulu branch… I met with Nick and others from two LGBT organizations. We talked for a while about the torment of the LGBT life many of them have lived while growing up in traditional Hawaiian families. Macho fathers. Religious mothers. We talked a lot about words and their power, especially in the lives of young people.
“One young man, an F-to-M tranny, said, “Are you here to get dry-cleaned, like Brett Ratner?” Meaning I could do some mea culpa, write them a six-figure check, go to a dinner, sob at the table, give a heartfelt speech, beg for forgiveness. I thought to myself: Beg for forgiveness for something I didn’t do?
“I said, “No. I don’t want to get dry-cleaned. I don’t want to be decontaminated by you, Karen Silkwood–wise, scrubbed down. I want to learn about what is hurtful speech in your community. I want to participate in some programs[sic] about that. Or underwrite one. And then, like you, I just want to be left alone.”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ Anderson Cooper For Calling Out Homophobic Slurs…
“Just prior to all of this, there was Jimmy Gandolfini’s funeral. I was despondent about his death. Jimmy was a “showbiz friend,” one with whom I had worked and greeted warmly whenever our paths crossed. His death hit me somewhat hard, considering his baby daughter and the fact that he was younger than me. I ended up attacking a reporter who wrote in the Daily Mail online that my wife was tweeting from Jimmy’s funeral. He was wrong—in fact, at a later time, she had retweeted items whose original time code matched the time of the funeral.
“In my rage, however, I called him a ‘toxic little queen,’ and, thus, Anderson Cooper, the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture, suggested I should be “vilified,” in his words. I didn’t feel bad about the incident. He lied about my wife. They say this is what comes with stardom—I don’t agree with you. A journalist isn’t supposed to write a lie about you. If he was in New York, I might have had the impulse to beat the shit out of the guy.”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ Rob Lowe For MSNBC Failure…
“The first name they came up with was Rob Lowe. They said, Rob Lowe's going to be in the building. Do you want to interview Rob? I said, ‘Not particularly.’ Rob's a famous star of films, TV. He's Rob Lowe. He's famous. But there's no shortage of outlets for him. And they looked at me like, You really don't get it. I think they thought, You should have just said yes, simply to play the game. I should have simply said, ‘Sure, bring in Rob Lowe.’”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ The Entire Media For MSNBC Failure…
“Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it's superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They've gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they're going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent.”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ The United States of America…
“I think America’s more f**ked up now than it’s ever been. People are angry that in the game of musical chairs that is the U.S. economy, there are less seats at the table when the music stops. And at every recession, the music is stopping.”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ New York…
“I’ve lived in New York since 1979. It was a place that they gave you your anonymity. And not just if you were famous. New Yorkers nodded at you. New Yorkers smiled at you at the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop. New Yorkers would make a terse comment to you. “Big fan,” they’d say. “Loved you in Streetcar,” they’d say. They signaled their appreciation of you very politely. To be a New Yorker meant you gave everybody five feet. You gave everybody their privacy. I recall how, in a big city, many people had to play out private moments in public: a woman sobbing at a pay phone (remember pay phones?), someone studying their paperwork, undisturbed, at the Oyster Bar, before catching the train. We allowed people privacy, we left them alone. And now we don’t leave each other alone. Now we live in a digital arena, like some Roman Colosseum, with our thumbs up or thumbs down.”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ The Whole Of Show Business…
“It's good-bye to public life in the way that you try to communicate with an audience playfully like we're friends, beyond the work you are actually paid for. Letterman. Saturday Night Live. That kind of thing. I want to go make a movie and be very present for that and give it everything I have, and after we're done, then the rest of the time is mine. I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now.”
Baldwin ‘Blasts’ Anyone Who Was Offended By Him And His Epic Apology…
“There's a way I could have done things differently. I know that. If I offended anyone along the way, I do apologize. But the solution for me now is: I've lived this for 30 years, I'm done with it.”
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