Actor Alec Baldwin is no stranger to unhappy run-ins with the paparazzi—and earlier on Sunday, he was involved in yet another such altercation. Baldwin told us he was assaulted by a NY Post photographer near his East Village apartment, and called the cops to file a formal complaint against him. But it seems the photographer is planning on accusing Baldwin of using a racial epithet against him. "If you want to paint a picture of me that is a denigrating picture, I've seen that," Baldwin told us. "If you want to put words in my mouth...I've certainly had my moments. But this is not one of them. I don't think I've ever uttered a racial epithet to someone in my lifetime."
Baldwin said he was returning home from the gym when the altercation took place. "This guy was right up in my face as I crossed University Place," he told us, saying the photographer—who may have been following him due to the recent lawsuit against his wife—was acting aggressively. "I get to the other side of the street, and he bumped into me." He believes it was a very deliberate provocation: "He banged into me with his shoulder, because he was right on top of me with the camera," he added. "In my mind, it was deliberate. I've had that happen before. It happens sometimes, because they want to bait you, they want you to do something."
Baldwin noted some of his previous experiences with photographers from The Post and other local dailies, recalling one time around his wedding last summer to Hilaria Thomas when a photographer tripped and sat on a baby in a stroller while trying to get a photo of him. "My wife is pregnant and I'm trying to make sure she has as much peace as possible," he said. "Who knows what these people can do."
So after he got home, Baldwin called the cops; two cop cars and four officers, who he said were nothing but kind and professional, responded and took his complaint. He also tweeted about the experience. The photographer, who was still there at the time, claimed he was a former cop himself, and was able to provide valid ID to prove it. Considering that, Baldwin is perplexed by what happened later: "My publicist has informed me that the "photographer" from the Post is claiming I called him a racial epithet, prior to me contacting NYPD," he tweeted.
He further explained to us: "When they were there, no one made any mention of anything. While police were here, you'd figure that'd be an opportune time for this guy to really attempt to tar me in some way. But there was no mention of anything I said to him, no one said anything about me saying the N-word or taunting him or anything. So it was after the fact. He wants to say I used some racial slur against him."
As he put it in a separate tweet, "Why did the photographer make no mention of this when the cops showed up? Cops make rather good witnesses." We've contacted The Post for comment about the confrontation, but they have not responded as of publication.
Baldwin is clearly frustrated that these kinds of interactions keep happening, although he is not too concerned about people taking the photographer's accusations seriously: "I don't think anyone who knows me would think that was possible."
He had strong words for the newspaper however: "The Post will stop at nothing—that's what The Post is. Their function is to denigrate people, humiliate people, reduce people, make excuses for people who are their political partisans. It's a highly biased, highly politicized group of people. However, I'm stunned that they would resort to that." He concluded, "Even for The Post, this is a new low."
UPDATE:Here's the NY Post's story.