Although the #MeToo movement has helped expose many predatory men, the movement is still unpopular in some (male-centric) circles. Alec Baldwin has been among those condemning #MeToo, saying that the backlash against accused men like Woody Allen is “unfair and sad.” Baldwin’s insensitivity resulted in a lot of (completely justified) criticism, but it seems that Baldwin won’t stop voicing his misinformed opinion about #MeToo any time soon.
Baldwin makes an appearance in a forthcoming episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which will be released for streaming on July 6th. And The Daily Beast reported that while talking to Seinfeld, Baldwin jokes that the post-#MeToo atmosphere means men have to be “ever vigilant.”
“Isn’t it a new world between men and women now?” Baldwin asks Seinfeld in the episode. “We’ve got to be really, really vigilant. Ever vigilant.”
Seinfeld responds by telling Baldwin that he “may be over-implementing the new guidelines.”
Baldwin has been critical of the #MeToo movement ever since his longtime friend, director James Toback, was accused of sexually harassing multiple women. Baldwin told the Los Angeles Times that he wasn’t aware of any sexual harassment on Toback’s part (this claim in no way invalidates the experiences of the women who came forward, but that obviously hasn’t stopped Baldwin).
In addition to his defense of Toback, Baldwin has implied that he doesn’t believe Dylan Farrow’s claims that she was assaulted by her adoptive father, Allen. Baldwin, by the way, has long asserted that Woody Allen is one of his heroes (most recently on The Howard Stern Show), and his staunch defense of the director underlines the issue of people putting the value of art above victims’ rights and safety.
Baldwin’s latest comments completely miss the point of #MeToo. The movement’s goal is to expose how rampant misogyny and sexual abuse is in our country, not to police people’s sexuality. Seeking consent from a potential sexual partner is hugely important and shouldn’t be minimized through jokes. While it’s not surprising that Baldwin would make these comments, men like him need to recognize that harassment has always hurt women and consent is key to ending this.