Alec Baldwin Dodges Reporters

Thom Weidlich 01.26.23


The tragic film-set shooting involving Alec Baldwin is back in the news because prosecutors say they will criminally charge the actor in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. An incident connected to the news raises a crisis question: When is it okay to give reporters the slip?

Prosecutors announced Jan. 19 they would charge Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter for shooting the prop gun that killed Hutchins on the New Mexico set during the October 2021 filming of the movie Rust.

The New York Post reported that, the morning after that announcement, Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, appeared outside their New York City apartment building and said she would speak to the journalists gathered there, hungry for comment on the saga’s latest development.

‘Decoy Statement’

But instead of speaking to the potential criminal charges, she launched into a tirade about reporters harassing her family. As she did this, her husband “slipped out of a side door and into a van that had been idling for him on their street,” according to the Post, which was not amused at what it called her “decoy statement.”

“The mother of seven — who frequently shares updates about her children and family on social media — tried to guilt the public of their interest in the charges against her husband,” wrote reporters Desheania Andrews and Isabel Keane.

To be honest, in our first reading of Hilaria Baldwin’s comments, we weren’t sure they were a decoy. Maybe that’s all she really wanted to say. But then the scribblers noted that she “could be seen going back inside and high-fiving the doorman with a massive grin across her face.” Okay, that makes her intention clear.

Keeping Mum

Here’s the point. The ruse by the Baldwins (pictured) may have infuriated the reporters, but they had every right to do it. There’s no law that says you have to talk to the press — especially at the height of a crisis. Yes, we’re generally in favor of transparency. But sometimes keeping mum is the proper course. The media has the right to assemble outside your house, but that doesn’t mean you must engage.

Situations like this do crop up. It may be appropriate, for example, to enter or exit a courthouse in a way that avoids the press gaggle (helpful hint: some courthouses have more than one entrance). Finessing this may even involve planning. You might decide to have a third party talk to, and distract, the newshounds. It could be a lawyer or other representative. Or a spouse.

This is especially relevant in Alec Baldwin’s case because he made many public statements, including immediately after the incident, professing his non-responsibility for the shooting. There is now speculation about how those statements will affect his criminal case. Perhaps he’s suddenly gotten publicity shy.

Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

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Related:Film-Set Shooting Raises Host of Crisis Issues