Baldwin, Frank Dodge Questions About Actor's Views on Gays

Sunday, 27 Apr 2014 11:14 PM

By Greg Richter

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Actor Alec Baldwin and former Rep. Barney Frank avoided questions at a film festival Sunday when asked about Baldwin's rants that many have called homophobic.

The actor has gotten into hot water over several incidents online and in-person. The latest was a Twitter exchange earlier this month with a former aide to Mitt Romney which Baldwin later deleted.

Around the same time, it was announced that Baldwin would be appearing with Frank at the premiere of a documentary on Frank for which Baldwin served as executive producer.

Frank, a Democrat, was  the first openly gay member of Congress and the film, "Compared to What," focused both on his legislative efforts and how he struggled before accepting his sexuality.

The website BuzzFeed asked Frank at a Q&A session at the Tribeca Film Festival whether his association with Baldwin hurt his image as a defender of gay rights.

"First of all, each of us is perfectly capable of talking for himself," Frank responded. "The notion that when you appear in some common forum with someone that you're each adopting the others' views, no I don’t pay much attention to that. And secondly, Mr. Baldwin is perfectly capable of explaining himself, but I don’t have any problem with it at all."

Baldwin then jumped in: "And if I could answer that question in the prism of promoting the film, I'll let you know, I'll get back to you. But we’re here to promote the film."

Frank gave generous access to his personal life to filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler, even allowing them exclusive footage of his wedding to Jim Ready.

The film included references to a 1980s scandal that almost ended Frank's career. Frank was reprimanded by the House for fixing parking tickets of a gay male prostitute who was living in his house and running an escort service from the home.

According to The Boston Globe, Frank was muted in his assessment of the film afterward.

"I appreciate the general sentiment," Frank said. "I’m very pleased with the general themes."

But Ready, Frank's husband, was more critical, saying, "I don’t understand why the movie makers would want to embarrass somebody who went out of their way to let them make a movie about him."

When Baldwin, who was moderating, asked him to clarify, he said, "I didn’t really think that was relevant. . . . His 94-year-old aunt is here! She doesn’t need to see that. It’s embarrassing. My mom’s going to see it. It was just kind of rude."

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