Rev Irene Monroe

Alec Baldwin & Homophobia: A Race-Based Double Standard?

Filed By Rev Irene Monroe | November 21, 2013 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Alec Baldwin, double standard, homophobia, homophobic behavior, Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, Tracy Morgan, Yunel Escobar

Alec Baldwin has done it again: he's been caught on camera in a cussing tirade hurling anti-gay epithets at the vulturous paparazzi on his heels.

This time, Baldwin's accused of spewing out the phrase "c-ksucking f*g."

Baldwin doesn't deny using the word "c*ksucking." Some argue his admission is merely because he can't lie his way out. But Baldwin claims that he simply had no clue that the word was a homophobic slur. And he tweeted: "I apologize and will retire it from my vocabulary ... you learn something new every day."

However, knowing the six-letter f-word is a slur--and aware of the deleterious outcome to both career and endorsements of spewing it by those called on the carpet in the past--Baldwin emphatically refutes having uttered it at all. CNN's Anderson Cooper has publicly called him a liar, but Baldwin, nonetheless, persists with his tale.

"I never used the word f**got in the tape recording being offered as evidence against me. What word is said right after the other choice word I use is unclear. But I can assure you, with complete confidence, that a direct homophobic slur (or indirect one for that matter) is not spoken," Baldwin's writes in a recent Huffington Post column titled "Two Requests in Light of Recent Events."

alec_baldwin.jpgWhile we have to credit Alec Baldwin for his staunch support of marriage equality, gay civil rights, and of also having a bevy of LGBTQ friends, he has finally maxed out with mea culpas to the community. He now appears, at best, to be a lip-service ally and at worst, an exposed, formerly closeted homophobe.

As a GLAAD representative recently told FOX411, "Mr. Baldwin can't fight for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice."

Homophobic epithets are so pervasive across our culture that most good-hearted and well-intentioned heterosexual people, like Baldwin, are sadly unaware of the psychological and physical toll they take on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. These epithets are used cavalierly, and too often they go either unchecked or unchallenged as hate speech.

Baldwin's arsenal of profanity words is a bevy of potty-mouthed anti-gay epithets, and he's received numerous passes from the LGBTQ community for his homophobic rants where others have not. Many in LGBTQ communities of color believe the reason for this is based on race.

The beloved African-American comedian Tracy Morgan, who also happens to be Baldwin's former co-star on NBC's 30 Rock, is a glaring example. During a standup performance in June 2011 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, Morgan's "intended" jokes about LGBTQ people were instead insulting jabs:

"Gays need to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying."?

"Gay is something that kids learn from the media and programming."?

"I don't "f*cking care if I piss off some gays, because if they can take a f*cking dick up their ass...they can take a f*cking joke."??

Morgan publicly apologized to GLAAD, and as part and parcel of his forgiveness tour has spoken out in support of LGBTQ equality.

In October 2006, Isaiah Washington got into fisticuffs with Grey's Anatomy costar Patrick Dempsey, grabbing him by the throat and outing co-star T.R. Knight. Washington said, "I'm not your little faggot like [T.R. Knight]." His public apology to the LGBTQ community for the derogatory comments he deliberately and repeatedly made about his co-star's sexuality was a disingenuous statement to deflect attention away from his desperate effort to save his job. He lost it nonetheless.

And then there are those who have been called on the carpet for using the f-word but have contested that they didn't mean it as an insult.

yunel_escobar.jpgCase in point: Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended in September 2012 for three games for wearing eye black displaying a Spanish-language homophobic slur during a game against the Boston Red Sox. The phrase, "TU ERE MARICON" [sic], can be loosely translated as "You are a faggot" or "You're a weak girl."

Escobar, a native of Cuba, contested that the phrase was taken out of contest because in his culture it is not intended to be offensive; it's merely used as banter in their friendly repartee. To the contrary, these words are undoubtedly homophobic because language is a representation of culture.

If a culture is unaware of or anesthetized to the destructive use of homophobic epithets, it re-inscribes and perpetuates ideas and assumptions about race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Consequently, these ideas and assumptions are transmitted from field houses to playing courts to media and into the dominant culture.

The difference between way the LGBTQ community has treated Alec Baldwin after his numerous outbursts and the way it's reacted to similar outbursts from celebrities of color is troubling. Anti-LGBTQ language needs to be called out equally no matter where it comes from. Alec Baldwin certainly needs to go to anger management, but he also needs to clean his potty mouth, because it's not just foul -- it's also homophobic.

Photo of Yunel Escobar by James Greenhalgh

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