PHOTO: BEImages/Matt Baron.
Whether he's leaving vicious voice mails, scrapping with flight attendants, or letting insults fly, Alec Baldwin has always been a polarizing figure. His latest skirmish, in which he allegedly called a cameraman a derogatory name for gay men, resulted in the cancellation of his MSNBC show. It's also prompted a closer examination of Baldwin's character.
For his part, Baldwin and his boosters point to the actor's support of gay rights as evidence of his integrity and non-homophobic beliefs. But, others aren't so sure. The Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates has entered the debate, challenging Baldwin's assertion that he's a scapegoat of "the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy." In Coates' view, Baldwin is a bigot, regardless of his liberal leanings.
What makes Coates' argument so fascinating is its lack of the attack-dog style used in so many editorials on the subject. Here, the writer draws on his own conflicted and flawed belief system to point out similarities between himself and the star. Coates also cites historical examples of men who were both champions of African-American rights and private racists. Having bigoted beliefs and being publicly moral, he argues, isn't mutually exclusive.
We'll leave it to you to read the article in full — don't overlook the comments section, where the debate picks up steam — and judge for yourself. (The Atlantic)