Baldwin and his wife Hilaria (and Sir Sean Connery!) at the US Open in September. (Getty)

Earlier this week Alec Baldwin asked me if "people in my realm" really believed he was a homophobe. The question was posed immediately after his MSNBC show was cancelled, in part because he allegedly shouted an anti-gay slur at a paparazzo who approached him and his family outside of his New York home.

If you Google "Alec Baldwin" and "homophobe" you'll get hundreds of thousands of results, all coming from a few outbursts the actor had when interacting with paparazzi, and a Daily Mail journalist. Headlines have ranged from the inquisitive ("Alec Baldwin: Homophobe Or Just A Really Angry Guy?") to the declarative ("Yes, Alec Baldwin Is A Homophobic Bigot"), and his question is a valid one: do the people writing these pieces sincerely believe Baldwin hates gays? We asked around "our realm," and the responses are below.

We also reached out to Andrew Sullivan, but were told he "is in England right now so he's unavailable to comment this time." If there is anyone else in media who feels they can add to this conversation, please email us your comment and we will include it here.

  • "Hmm. I've only spent like 90 minutes with Alec Baldwin, and he was very... agitated. He's like one of those 12-year-olds that you're not sure if you should give them a lot more Adderall or take it away entirely? It's just really... busy in his head. A lot of brilliant people are like that. But I think he's just been famous too long and has lost his filters. He probably knows more gay dudes than all the rest of us put together. No, he's not a homophobe, he just has a filthy mouth and a short temper and no attention span and a problem with entitlement. Although I suppose he could be hanging out too much with the two weird(er) Baldwin brothers, I guess?" — Choire Sicha, The Awl
  • "I don’t think Alec Baldwin is sitting in some secret hetero lair plotting against gay folk, no. But he does use hate speech, and while a person may not be a textbook homophobe, their words often betray more subtle, subconscious biases." — Jessica Coen, Jezebel
  • "I don't know Alec Baldwin on a personal level, and I can't claim to know what's going on inside his head. But my gut says he doesn't actually have anything against gay people. He supports gay marriage, he presumably works with a lot of gay people as an actor, and he's very liberal overall. So my guess is that he just has terrible Angry Man Filter: These insults were ingrained in his brain growing up on working-class Long Island, at a time when they were more acceptable, and he can't stop them from flying out when he goes into one of his frequent rages." — Dan Amira, New York Magazine
  • "Speaking as a person who doesn’t know him AT ALL and therefore is not actually qualified to make ANY judgments on his personality or character…I don’t think he is an actual homophobe. I do think he may have a problem with anger, and that what comes out when he gets angry are the kinds of insults that he may have used when he was younger without any political repercussions or implications (i.e. “cocksucker” or “faggot”). It might be useful for him to condition himself to use more gender- and sexuality-neutral insults (“asshole” works on everyone), or better yet to control himself when he’s in public and say shitty things about people behind their backs, like the rest of us do." — Tara Ariano, Previously.TV
  • "I've come to the conclusion that Alec Baldwin probably isn't a homophobe. When he's in his right mind, he doesn't seem like the kind of person who would discriminate against gays or call them names or gay-bash someone. His problem is that he's got rage issues, and whenever he loses it, he reverts to this insane 1970s Long Island Hulk—and back then people weren't sensitive to these issues. But you wouldn't blame Bruce Banner if Hulk destroyed a building, would you? In conclusion, homeboy should be encouraged to get therapy, not shamed out of a job." — Jake Dobkin, Gothamist