Alec Baldwin says he is taking a break from Twitter following a war of words over the weekend involving himself, actresses Rose McGowan and Patricia Arquette, actress-filmmaker Asia Argento and chef-TV host Anthony Bourdain.
The contretemps began after Baldwin, promoting a book on “PBS News Hour” Friday, spoke about what interviewer Jeffrey Brown called “a culture of complicity” regarding sexual harassment. Emmy Award-winner Baldwin, 59, expressed concern over sexism and noted the dozens of sexual assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has denied having had nonconsensual sex.
“You heard the rumor that he raped Rose McGowan,” Baldwin said. “You heard that over and over — we’ve heard that for decades. And nothing was done.” McGowan, he noted, “took a payment of $100,000 [in 1997] and settled her case with him, and it was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case.” He said a New York Times article had asked whether such settlements “hurt the cause of exposing [sexual predators] and bringing us to a place of real change?” — apparently referring to a column by Jim Rutenberg on Oct. 22, “A Long-Delayed Reckoning of the Cost of Silence on Abuse.”
McGowan, 44, shot back on Twitter, saying “everyone knew. No one cared. Men ran the show. Women toed the line. No more.” Argento, 42, told Baldwin he was “either a complete moron or providing cover for your pals and saving your own rep. Maybe all three,” and derided his “mansplaining ‘the cause’ for women everywhere.”
Baldwin responded to Argento, “If you paint every man w the same brush, you’re gonna run out of paint or men” — leading Argento’s boyfriend, Bourdain, 61, to tweet an insult, whereupon Baldwin responded to him, “You should stick to eating worms and keep your mouth shut,” and blocked them on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Arquette noted to Baldwin, “8 women went to lawyers who basically told them they didn’t have a hope in hell in court against a multi millionaire. That’s why they settled.”
“It is w some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this a TWITTER account for a period of and in the current climate,” Baldwin, who was born in Amityville and raised in Massapequa, eventually posted both on his personal account and on his foundation’s on Saturday.
“It was never my intention, in my public statements, to ‘blame the victim’ in the many sexual assault cases that have emerged recently,” he continued. “I simply posited that the settlement of such cases certainly delayed justice, though I am fully aware that those settlements were entered into w the understanding that settlement is wise, intimidated into believing so. My heart goes out to all such victims. My goal is to do better in all things related to gender equality. Au revoir.”