“Alec Baldwin described New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s shock resignation on Tuesday as ‘tragic’ and appeared to suggest that so-called ‘cancel culture’ was to blame for the politician’s downfall.” — Yahoo News, 8/11/21
Today truly is a tragic day. Cancel culture has claimed another innocent victim, Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose only “crime” was around a dozen credible claims of sexual harassment against him. On top of that, after the charming and talented actor Alec Baldwin bravely tried to defend him by saying that cancel culture has gotten completely out of control, people started making fun of him relentlessly on Twitter. That’s why I, who am neither of those people, felt the need to speak up and say that Alec is right: cancel culture is completely out of control. Also, we should probably cut Alec a little bit of slack.
Regardless of how you feel about Governor Cuomo, should this one little report from the NY Attorney General’s office really be the downfall of a politician whose only misstep has been these sexual harassment allegations and a couple of other fraud and corruption scandals? No. And if Alec Baldwin courageously comes to his defense, should we really call him a “talentless hack” who “hasn’t churned out a good performance in years”? Of course not. When are we, as a society, going to stop letting things like “public opinion,” or “thorough independent investigations,” or “Rotten Tomatoes scores,” determine whether someone should be forced to resign from their job, or whether someone’s performance in The Boss Baby was “uninspired,” when anyone with any real talent could tell you that his performance was actually delivered with a surprising amount of nuance.
Rather than letting the public decide who is guilty of what, we should really be letting the criminal justice system do what it was designed to do. Our courts, which are notoriously unbiased when it comes to race, gender, and socioeconomic status, are the only place where we should be determining whether Governor Cuomo actually harassed those women, or whether Alec actually punched that photographer. And if a team of high-powered attorneys is able to get their client acquitted, or if the sheer threat of years of legal fees is enough to convince the victim to drop the charges, then the governor should be allowed to stay in office, and people should stop calling Alec “a huge jerk” in the many DMs I can only assume he has received.
It’s a sad day in America when the general public is allowed to form an opinion on a person’s character based solely on an overwhelming amount of evidence, and then that person is forced to face consequences. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a state governor being pressured into resigning after repeatedly intimidating and retaliating against accusers, or an American Airlines passenger being publicly ridiculed by the press after being kicked off a flight for refusing to stop playing Words With Friends when the plane was about to take off. Either way, it’s unjust to jump to conclusions without taking into consideration the other side of the story, like whether that passenger was really, really bored and whether they might’ve felt like what good is it being the man who delivered that iconic performance in Glengarry Glen Ross if you don’t get special treatment every once in a while?
Make no mistake, this entire investigation into Governor Cuomo has been nothing but a witch hunt. Admittedly, unlike a witch hunt, he isn’t going to be burned at the stake, or hanged, or physically or financially harmed in any way. But that doesn’t make it any less painful for a man who now won’t be able to take taxpayer-funded limousine rides to places, and will no longer get to stand at a podium and make speeches while everybody listens.
We have to stop pretending that cancel culture doesn’t have real-world consequences for its victims, like not getting to be in charge of as much stuff as you were before, or no longer having your own talk show. And if I were Alec Baldwin, I would be pretty furious that my public image has been tarnished by numerous high-profile incidents and outbursts that the public likes to fixate on when 90 percent of the time he’s probably a nice, level-headed guy who, I assume, on the set of the 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice, was a famously great guy to work with, always said hi to all of the crew and made an effort to learn their names, and even had a fun little rapport with Enrique, one of the production assistants, who referred to him as “awesome Alec.” Even now he probably still sends Enrique a Christmas card every year. But, I’m guessing, nobody gets to see that side of Alec, because all they ever talk about is how he punched someone in the face those two or three different times.
I, for one, would like to thank Alec Baldwin for saying what nobody else had the courage to say. And to those out there saying nasty things about him, watch out. Alec strikes me as the type of guy who takes private Krav Maga lessons at a studio in Tribeca on Tuesdays and Thursdays and isn’t afraid to put a loud-mouthed asshole in a chokehold.
Besides, if there’s someone we should be making fun of, it’s Tim Robbins, whose performance in the 2003 crime drama Mystic River was totally pedestrian and overwrought. Somebody else should have won that Oscar.