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How 30 Rock foreshadowed Hilaria Baldwin controversy

Alec Baldwin’s character gets engaged in season one to a woman who fakes an English accent

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Thursday 31 December 2020 15:54 GMT
Hilaria Baldwin responds to accusations that she has been pretending to be Spanish

The recent controversy surrounding Hilaria Baldwin and her heritage has rang a bell for astute fans of 30 Rock.

Viewers of the sitcom might remember a storyline in season one in which Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack, proposes to his girlfriend Phoebe (Emily Mortimer) – only for Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon to realise that Phoebe is faking her English accent and is actually American.

Hilaria Baldwin, Alec Baldwin’s real-life spouse, has been accused over the past few days of pretending to have Spanish origins. Social media users have scrutinised her accent in various videos, and have cross-referenced her biographical details.

Baldwin herself has denied creating a false narrative about her background, telling The New York Times: “There is not something I’m doing wrong, and I think there is a difference between hiding and creating a boundary.” 

She has publicly confirmed that she was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the wake of the controversy, a clip began circulating on social media featuring the season one storyline in which Phoebe is revealed to be an American.

It takes place over the course of two episodes – “Corporate Crush” and “Cleveland” -  which respectively aired in 19th and 20th position in the season. 

In “Corporate Crush”, Jack proposes to Phoebe and she accepts his offer of marriage. In “Cleveland”, Liz confronts Phoebe over the upcoming union. During their conversation, Phoebe slips and her English accent is nowhere to be heard as she tells Liz in clearly American tones: “You don’t know anything about me, so back off!”

“What happened to your accent?” Liz asks in amazement.

“I don’t know what you’re on about, you daft w*****,” Phoebe replies, emphasising her faux English accent once again.

In 30 Rock, Jack and Phoebe end up calling off their engagement.

In real life, Alec Baldwin has posted an Instagram video appearing to defend his wife, without naming her, and has criticised the coverage of the controversy on Twitter.

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