At the end of the day we may never really know what Alec Baldwin said that got his MSNBC show cancelled. In his personal blog he stated that he hadn’t used a homophobic slur, which was the point of focus in the media spin that led to his dramatic, public defeat.
Show-business is tough, and when you say the wrong things, or controversial things, there’s a spin. We’ve seen it happen countless times. Even with an actor’s best intentions to reverse the damage when they knowingly made a mistake, it’s not going to happen. Once too many people have already become emotionally upset with what’s been said, and too many publications have spun the facts and the fiction, you can’t turn it off.
From the way I see it, Baldwin’s personal anger in several incidents involving photographers led to some of that added scrutiny. People remember these angry outbursts. Remember the Twitter feud with American Airlines as well? That kind of ‘projection’ of one-self is hard to reverse, especially when it’s been widely debated, in a negative context, and it can last for years. Just look at how people treat Mel Gibson. I don’t see how his career can recover to its former glory without some miraculous turn of events to change the views of the thousands of journalists who condemned him for what he said.
This brings me to my next point : the viral nature of Baldwin’s anger. Anger is an emotion people don’t like. It’s offensive, it’s in your face. When you see other people being angry, it can spur angry emotions in you. That’s why we’ve seen such a backlash from this latest incident. All these past reports about Alec Baldwin have been generally negative and its gotten to the point where people are irritated. They can’t stand to see this display of un-wanted emotions. No one wants to feel like Alec Baldwin in these moments, yet they are reminded of it on a daily basis. That’s given even more weight and significance to this, and what’s more, viral anger is great for the media. It boosts readership, at the expense of the one who’s venting.
So the moral of the story is, if you’ve got some very strong, negative emotions about something, and the word gets out, and people are pulled in by it, you’ve got a viral anger campaign going. This will ultimately do you more harm than good, and it will be even worse if people think, or hear you say something offensive.
Not all publicity is good, and this latest outburst proved very damaging for Alec Baldwin.
“I want to apologize to my loyal fans and to my colleagues at msnbc – both for my actions and for distracting from their good work. Again, please accept my apology.”