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Alec Baldwin defends comparison of late-night shows to ‘grand juries’

Alec Baldwin, pictured on Nov. 7, 2017 in

Alec Baldwin, pictured on Nov. 7, 2017 in Manhattan, said questioning from some late-night talk show hosts could hurt innocent people. Credit: Invision/AP / Andy Kropa

Alec Baldwin expanded Thursday on comments he made in tweets the day before, in which he said John Oliver’s recent grilling of Dustin Hoffman over accusations of sexual harassment was akin to a grand jury seeking indictment.

Baldwin, 59, had tweeted that talk shows, which “were once promotional pit stops for some blithe chit chat about movies, etc. Now the likes of John Oliver and Stephen Colbert have flipped that and they are beginning to resemble grand juries.” He elaborated on that notion during an appearance Thursday on “Megyn Kelly Today,” saying, “A lot of people . . . endorse that. They think those hosts of those shows are perfectly not only within their rights, but it’s very attractive or very necessary for them to be pressing this cause. I just don’t want to see people who are innocent get into trouble,” he cautioned, adding, “I want to see the people who really did something get convicted. I mean, I want the people who are wrong, I want them to be punished. But I don’t want to see innocent people get hurt, either.”

Baldwin earlier had tweeted he wanted to see “people being punished through a due process of law. I’m against people asserting that the process begins and ends with accusations only.”

Hoffman, who last month apologized after being accused by a 17-year-old intern of coarse talk and unwanted physical contact during a film shoot in 1985, came under intense questioning by Oliver during a film presentation Monday at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.

Emmy Award-winner Baldwin, who was born in Amityville and raised in Massapequa, offered historical perspective, telling Kelly, “This is no excuse, but, like, 40 years ago there was a kind of way that people had, a kind of a sexualized byplay and a kind of fooling around that was wrong — you look back and you say it was wrong then. But it seemed to be less problematic than it is now. . . . There are a lot of things you just don’t do anymore. [Women] put up with it more” in earlier times. “And now,” he added supportively, “they don’t put up with it.”

In a tweet Thursday morning, Baldwin wrote that Hoffman’s behavior “was wrong and that some, not all, but some of this behavior can be understood in terms of his age. 40 years [ago] people smoked everywhere. Now, it is outlawed. That’s change. Times change. Expectations change.”

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