As NewsBusters previously reported, CNN's Anderson Cooper commented about Alec Baldwin's Thursday Twitter meltdown - which included a homophobic attack on a British reporter - asking why the actor gets a pass when he uses gay slurs.
Andrew Sullivan joined this discussion Friday writing, "He’s a pro-gay liberal, so he may get a pass for this. He shouldn’t":
I can understand the man’s rage at a reporter, but what’s with the anti-gay shit? [...]
This is not just hate speech; it’s a specific call for other people to physically attack a gay man. It’s a call to violence against a specific person, which, last time I checked, was a crime. He’s a pro-gay liberal, so he may get a pass for this. He shouldn’t.
Yes, but he'll still get a pass, Andrew. Liberal media members always do.
Here's how it works.
Baldwin did an interview with the Gothamist making his case:
[T]he idea of me calling this guy a "queen" and that being something that people thought is homophobic…a queen to me has a different meaning. It’s somebody who’s just above. It doesn’t have any necessarily sexual connotations. To me a queen... I know women that act queeny, I know men that are straight that act queeny, and I know gay men that act queeny. It doesn’t have to be a definite sexual connotation, or a homophobic connotation. To me those are people who think the rules don’t apply to them.
So his "queen" comment wasn't homophobic? What about "If [sic] put my foot up your fucking ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much?"
No "sexual connotation" there, Alec? Of course not.
Baldwin then addressed Sullivan's comments:
I don’t think it’s a call for violence against a specific person because they’re gay, it’s a call for violence against a person who lied about my wife.
There’s a kid in Austin who made a Facebook comment and he was charged... I mean I don’t know anything about that. If a kid on Facebook called for something to happen to someone because they were gay, that's that situation. I did not call for this guy to be attacked because he was gay. I called on this guy because he lied against my wife, in what is a piece of “journalism” online. There’s a profound distinction, and if Sullivan doesn’t make that distinction, there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing I can do about it.
I have no problem whatsoever with anything that Andrew Sullivan says. I mean I think that most people will see, as a matter of fact I don’t know anybody that I know personally that doesn’t see, my friends who are gay who think that I was calling on this guy to be attacked because he was gay. I would have to venture to say that Sullivan is alone on that conclusion. I do not call on anyone to attack this guy from The Daily Mail because he’s gay. He lied. Here my wife is pregnant, we’re at a funeral, leave me alone. We’re at a friend’s funeral who died. His wife is there with their eight-month-old baby. It’s a very sacred event and everybody’s like, “Alec Baldwin’s wife is tweeting about her Rachel Ray appearance,” and we’re like “no she’s not!”
Of course, to get his pass, Baldwin needed to speak to those likely most offended. So he issued a statement to GLAAD:
My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone's sexual orientation. My anger was directed at Mr. Stark for blatantly lying and disseminating libelous information about my wife and her conduct at our friend's funeral service. As someone who fights against homophobia, I apologize.
I have worked, periodically, with numerous marriage equality organizations, especially over the past couple of years, to achieve the very rights that gay couples are earning by recent court decisions. I would not advocate violence against someone for being gay and I hope that my friends at GLAAD and the gay community understand that my attack on Mr. Stark in no way was the result of homophobia.
And, despite what Cooper or Sullivan said, GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro gave Baldwin his pass:
Alec Baldwin is making it clear that the intent behind his tweets does not excuse his language, especially at a time when there were 11 incidents of violence against gay men in New York City just last month. As we all work to end such senseless acts of violence, allies like Baldwin are right to use these moments to reinforce support for the community and LGBT equality.
And this is always what happens when a liberal says or does something offensive: well-crafted apology, and on his or her way.
Wouldn't it be nice if conservatives could so easily make amends for their transgressions?