A firestorm erupted around Alec Baldwin Thursday afternoon as a video surfaced of him hurling what might have been a homophobic slur at a paparazzo outside of his Manhattan apartment.
In the clip by a shooter for the paparazzi agency AKM-GSI (which can be seen online at TMZ), Baldwin is alleged to have called the photographer a derogatory term for a homosexual after the man gets very close to Alec and his family. The audio is muddled, however, and his exact words are open to interpretation.
All of this just hours after the actor scored a huge victory in court, as his nemesis Genevieve Sabourin was found guilty on all five counts of stalking and harassment and sentenced to over a year behind bars.
Baldwin quickly took to Twitter to defend himself, claiming that he did not use the words TMZ and the cameraman allege he said:
If @TMZ asserts that I used an anti-gay epithet, I will sue them.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 14, 2013
Acoustic analysis proves the word is fathead. Fathead.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 14, 2013
Anti-gay slurs are wrong. They not only offend, but threaten hard fought tolerance of LGBT rights.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 14, 2013
I know that @TMZ would go to any lengths to bury me. But, try again.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 14, 2013
I'm grateful to all of the ppl I meet + hear from who recognize that I would never say something to offend my friends in the gay community.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 14, 2013
Although Baldwin's words cannot clearly be heard on the tape, GLAAD had a stern message to the actor.
"Mr. Baldwin can't lend his support for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice. It's clearly time he listens to the calls from so many LGBT people and allies to end this pattern of anti-gay slurs," the advocacy group said in statement first given to "omg! Insider."
While his current word choice is being debated, there's not denying Baldwin has a history of wrong-headed diatribes. He was embroiled in a controversy earlier this summer when he called a reporter for the New York Daily News a "toxic little queen."
That prompted a mea culpa from the actor.
"My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone's sexual orientation," he said at the time. "My anger was directed at Mr. Stark for blatantly lying and disseminating libelous information about my wife and her conduct at our friend's funeral service. As someone who fights against homophobia, I apologize.
"I have worked, periodically, with numerous marriage equality organizations, especially over the past couple of years, to achieve the very rights that gay couples are earning by recent court decisions. I would not advocate violence against someone for being gay and I hope that my friends at GLAAD and the gay community understand that my attack on Mr. Stark in no way was the result of homophobia."
Story developing …