Barney Frank on Alec Baldwin: His 'Outbursts' Aside, He's 'Very Supportive of Gay Rights'

Yeesh, talk about politics making for strained bedfellows.

Fresh from his short-lived engagement as an MSNBC pundit, dedicated paparazzi foe Alec Baldwin appears fully engaged in an effort to rehabilitate his public image after anti-gay rants and tweets got him banished from every respectable salon on the Upper West Side. As part of that effort, Baldwin is executive producer of a new documentary on -- wait for it -- Barney Frank, the openly gay former congressman from Massachusetts.

The film, titled "Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank," premiered over the weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Boston Globe ran a story Monday that included a quote from Frank that was typically, well, frank.

In an audience Q&A that followed the screening, Frank's spouse Jim Ready voiced "his displeasure at the fact that the film covered the prostitution scandal that rocked Frank's office in 1989," the Globe reported.

"I don't understand why the movie makers would want to embarrass somebody who went out of their way to let them make a movie about them," Ready complained. "I didn't really think that was relevant. ... His 94-year-old aunt is here! It's embarrassing. My mom's going to see it. It was just kind of rude."

Frank was reprimanded by the House after his roommate boyfriend was found to have run a prostitution ring from Frank's DC apartment and other locales. Frank, who has always prided himself on being the smartest gay in the room, claimed he was unaware this was happening, though his boyfriend asserted otherwise.

In response to Ready's complaint, Baldwin "moved quickly to soften the mood," the Globe reported, "by volunteering that there were more than a few things he'd want to leave out" if someone made a movie about him.

Was this a reference to the "recent dust-up" when Baldwin "used a gay slur against a newspaper reporter," the Globe inquired, followed by this unpolished gem from Frank --

When asked about that unpleasant episode by an audience member, Frank said in no uncertain terms that he had no problem with Baldwin -- a position he had emphasized on the red carpet before the screening, saying that, "his outbursts to the contrary notwithstanding," Baldwin "has been very supportive of gay rights."

Got that? Aside from his homophobia, some of Baldwin's best friends are gay.

Imagine the howling at the moon among liberals if a prominent conservative said much the same of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling -- his antebellum-era scorn for blacks notwithstanding, he's very supportive of civil rights.

Unless and until a repentant Baldwin appears on "The Rachel Maddow Show" and begs forgiveness, his rehabilitation will remain incomplete.

Seeing how Jim Ready clearly prefers hagiography to documentary, he might want to get in touch Rory Kennedy, who filmed a suitably glowing tribute to her mother titled "Ethel".

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts