MSNBC has suspended Alec Baldwin’s "Up Late" program for two weeks, after the hot-headed actor made inappropriate comments to reporters including an anti-gay epithet, reports said Friday.
The gossip website TMZ
and The New York Daily News
said Baldwin made threatening comments to a photographer in New York on Thursday, using sexually-charged and anti-gay words.
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"I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have — and for that I am deeply sorry," Baldwin said in a statement posted on MSNBC.com,
acknowledging his show's suspension.
"Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable. Behavior like this undermines hard-fought rights that I vigorously support. I understand 'Up Late' will be taken off the schedule for tonight and next week."
"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," he said.
Earlier Friday, Baldwin posted a cryptic tweet:
Critics had hammered the network and Baldwin
for not issuing an apology over the heated confrontation.
Andrew Sullivan called the network a "a bunch of hypocrites and phonies" over the "continued violent and homophobic bigotry" of the MSNBC host, Politico reported.
Baldwin's show has been struggling with ratings,
experiencing a sharp drop in viewers since its premiere in October.
The show's suspension capped an emotional two days for the actor and his wife, Hilaria.
A judge Thursday found Genevieve Sabourin guilty of stalking Baldwin and sent the obsessed actress to jail for seven months.
"... what my husband does is he helps people," Hilaria Baldwin said Friday when asked if Sabourin's courtroom claim that Baldwin loved her and left her was true, the Daily News reported.
"If you are his friend and you said my brother really wants to get into the business, he would say let's go out for a drink, let's go out for dinner. I'll give you some advice, he does that all the time."
Sabourin, she added, "was a case of that going very wrong."
Baldwin, however, blew up at reporters seeking comment about the case, hitting a phone from one reporter's hands and shoving him against a car, the News reported.
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"Hey, you just assaulted me," the reporter complained.
Baldwin laughed. "I assaulted you?" he said.
At another point, Baldwin accused a TV reporter of assaulting his wife. "I want her arrested," he demanded.
No arrests were made.
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