Alec Baldwin praised the women who have come forward with stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood in a recent interview with Rolling Stone and speculated on how it will shape the culture. "I think that changes are going to come because there are victims' faces and voices put to the story now," he says. "In the past the women who had these accusations to make, who were indeed victims of these crimes, were not compelled to come forward and put themselves through that gauntlet that goes with that in the press. And now we have a lot of women who have bonded together and encouraged one and other to face what they have to face to effect real change."
During a speech at the Paley Center on November 2nd, where Baldwin was being honored for his career and support of the organization's educational efforts, he also admitted that he too had treated women poorly. "I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way," he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I've bullied women. I've overlooked women. I've underestimated women. Not as a rule. From time to time, I've done what a lot of men do, which is … when you don't treat women the same way you treat men. You don't. I'm from a generation where you really don't and I'd like that to change. I really would like that to change."
Speaking with Rolling Stone after this speech about his just-released Trump parody book, You Can't Spell America Without Me, Baldwin addressed the wave of women who have come forward with their stories in the wake of revelations about producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct.
"There are a lot of people's lives destroyed and their careers destroyed, but that might be the collateral damage I guess," he tells Rolling Stone. "Not in my mind, but in the minds of some people I have spoken to, that might be the collateral damage necessary to get us where we need to go in terms of change."
The actor – who recently came under fire for his association with filmmaker James Toback, who's also been facing sexual misconduct accusations – also said in his speech that he was aware of rumors of things that have happened to people in Hollywood "but I didn't necessarily know the scope, when you hear the hundreds and hundreds of women who are complaining about this." During an interview with PBS Newshour, he echoed this sentiment saying he was aware of a rumor that Weinstein had raped actress Rose McGowan. The Daily Beast reports that when the interviewer mentioned that no one had spoken up about the McGowan rumor, Baldwin said, "What happened was Rose McGowan took a payment of $100,000 and settled her case with him. It was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case."
McGowan subsequently tweeted, "Told you everyone knew. No one cared. Men ran the show. Women toed the line. No more." Then actress Asia Argento tweeted at Baldwin, accusing him of "either [being] a complete moron or providing a cover for your pals and saving your own rep." Baldwin tweeted back at Argento, "If you paint every man w the same brush, you're gonna run out of paint or men." After Argento claimed Baldwin was "mansplaining" the situation, she reported that he had blocked her. The actor also sparred online with Argento's boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain.
Over the weekend, Baldwin posted that he would be taking a break from Twitter. Over the course of six tweets, he wrote, "It is with some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this, a Twitter account, for a period of and in the current climate. It was never my intention, in my public statements, to 'blame the victim' in the many sexual assault cases that have emerged recently. I simply posited that the settlement of such cases certainly delayed justice, though I am fully aware that those settlements were entered into with [the] understanding that settlement is wise, intimidated into believing so. My heart goes out to all such victims. My goal is to do better in all things related to gender equality."