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Alec Baldwin Says He's Quitting Public Life, Primarily Because People Think He's a Homophobe, Which He Says He's Not New York Magazine's Vulture blog; USA Today, TVWeek

"In a long piece that appeared under his byline Sunday night, [Feb. 23, 2014] on New York Magazine's Vulture blog, [actor Alec] Baldwin, 55, writes that being labeled a 'homophobic bigot' in the media after an altercation with a paparazzo in November 2013 was the last straw for him as a celebrity," reports USA Today..

The report in USA Today continues, " 'I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible,' Baldwin writes. 'This is the last time I'm going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.' "

In the Vulture piece, titled "Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life," the actor says, "Am I a homophobe? Look, I work in show business. I am awash in gay people, as colleagues and as friends. I’m doing Rock of Ages one day, making out with Russell Brand. Soon after that, I’m advocating with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cynthia Nixon for marriage equality. I’m officiating at a gay friend’s wedding. I’m not a homophobic person at all. But this is how the world now sees me. I haven’t changed, but public life has."

Writing about the November incident, in which TMZ reported that Baldwin used the word "faggot," Baldwin says, "I'm sorry, I can’t let go of this—do people really, really believe that, when I shouted at that guy, I called him a 'faggot' on-camera? Do you honestly believe I would give someone like TMZ’s Harvey Levin, of all people, another club to beat me with?

"What happened is, a TMZ videographer ambushed me as I was putting my family in a car, and I chased him down the block and said, 'Cocksucking motherfucker' or whatever (when I have some volatile interaction with these people, I don’t pull out a pen and take notes on what I said). I knew that guy. This was a guy who is on a bike usually, and when we get in a car, he follows us. Very aggressive. The same guy who followed my wife on a bicycle, and when she slipped and fell trying to dodge him and hurt her leg, he laughed at her and said, 'See what I made you do?' At my wife. How would that make you feel?"

Baldwin later adds, "Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: Your problem is a very basic one, and it’s very common to actors. And that’s when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment. This instinct, even unconsciously, is to make the exchange in front of the camera a dramatic one. Perhaps I fell for that."

Writes USA Today, "Other revelations in [Baldwin's] 5,000-word essay:

"He's ready to move out of New York City, which he's called home since 1979. 'I just can't live in New York anymore,' he writes. 'Everything I hated about L.A. I'm beginning to crave. L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal. I used to hate that. But New York has changed.'

"He's angry at MSNBC, which refused to go forward with his planned talk show after the run-in with the photographer. 'If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? ... MSNBC, in its own way, is as ... redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.'

"Baldwin also writes about his thwarted political ambitions: 'I had dreams of running for office at some point in the next five years.' "

In his piece Baldwin also goes after Shia LaBeouf, Tony Award-winnng director Daniel J. Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough, MSNBC producer Jonathan Larsen and MSNBC President Phil Griffin, among others. At one point in the essay Baldwin writes, "I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does. I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air."

Near the end of the essay Baldwin says, "It’s good-bye to public life in the way that you try to communicate with an audience playfully like we’re friends ..."

"There’s a way I could have done things differently. I know that. If I offended anyone along the way, I do apologize. But the solution for me now is: I’ve lived this for 30 years, I’m done with it. And, admittedly, this is how I feel in February of 2014."

alec baldwin.jpgAlec Baldwin