In an appearance on Megyn Kelly Today, Alec Baldwin spoke at length about the issue of sexual misconduct in Hollywood following comments he made about John Oliver's heated interview with Dustin Hoffman. He had previously accused talk shows like those belonging to Oliver and Stephen Colbert of acting like "grand juries," and on Today elaborated on his hesitation to support this bigger push for accountability.
"It's really, really tough because you certainly want to see everybody who's guilty of something, who've done bad things, wrong things, you want to see those people get punished," he told Kelly. "But I don't want to see other people get pulled into that who...there's a lot of accusations and no proof yet. I don't want to see people get hurt."
Kelly asked if he was referencing Hoffman, and he doubled down on his condemnation of Oliver's questioning.
"[People] think the hosts of those shows are not only perfectly within their rights, but it's very attractive or very necessary for them to be pressing this cause," he said. "I just don't want to see people who are innocent get into trouble."
This reasoning isn't new. People often express fear of false accusations — it's pretty much what every celebrity accused of sexual misconduct has claimed in response — even though a 2010 study found false rape allegations only make up between an estimated two to 10% of all accusations.
This appears to have a lot to do with a misunderstanding of consent. For instance, Baldwin describes a lack of consent as a woman with "tears streaming down her face and she is begging you not to do the thing you are going to do" when in fact there are a myriad of ways a woman is put in a non-consensual situation. Many of the women who have come forward about Weinstein found themselves frozen in fear in uncomfortable situations that they were never asked to be a part of. Defining sexual assault as a dramatic, tear-filled fight only works to discourage women whose experience doesn't fit that narrow description from feeling like their assault is valid.
This whole conversation is topped with a disappointing cherry as Baldwin is quick to point out the flaws in this reckoning but has no real solutions for how to improve the culture that facilitated it. His ideas of a quota of women on set and an "understanding" of how people are treated does nothing to address the real problem, the problem Baldwin is perpetuating in this interview, is that people don't believe women in the first place.
Watch the interview below:
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A rep for Baldwin said the actor had no additional comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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