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Jul 30, 2013 6:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Activists Want Capital One To Drop Alec Baldwin, His Beneficiaries Are Still Supportive

Jul 30, 2013 6:20 PM

A homophobic comment made by the actor Alec Baldwin on the social-networking site Twitter in June has gay and straight activists calling for Capital One to part ways with Mr. Baldwin as spokesman for its credit cards.

Some say it’s only fitting after various companies decided to sever their ties with celebrity chef Paula Deen, after she admitted to using a racial slur, but Capital One has remained mum on Mr. Baldwin’s status.

If Mr. Baldwin was fired from the ad campaign, several East End organizations would stand to be hurt. The money he makes from Capital One commercials goes directly to local institutions such as Guild Hall, the Hamptons Film Festival, the East Hampton Library, the Group for the East End and the Springs Improvement Society.

His beneficiaries have remained relatively silent, if not outright supportive, after Mr. Baldwin called a gay male reporter a “toxic little queen” after he wrote a story about Mr. Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, tweeting during James Gandolfini’s funeral in June.

“He has been a major benefactor of ours for the construction of the new children’s addition and for our Author’s Night benefit,” said Sheila Rogers, the first vice president of East Hampton Library’s board. “I think Capital One is lucky to have him, frankly. Unfortunately, they got him at the wrong moment.”

According to Ms. Rogers, the library has received close to $500,000 from Mr. Baldwin over the past two and a half years.

Ms. Rogers said if he were to be dropped from the Capital One campaign and not donate as he has in the past it would be a “tremendous loss.”

Just this year, Mr. Baldwin allotted $30,000 for the Group for the East End. Bob DeLuca, the director of the organization, said he can’t judge Mr. Baldwin and is thankful for his contributions.

“Looking at this recent dustup, honestly, I don’t feel any differently today about Alec’s support for our work than I have in the past,” he said. “Because of his support we have been able to do more for the resources that define our region and that has value to every one of us. Somebody a lot smarter and a heck of a lot more important than me once reminded us all that unless we were without sin, we should be very careful about casting the first stone.”

Last month Mr. Baldwin paid off a loan that the Springs Improvement Society had taken out for renovations on Ashawagh Hall. According to society member Loring Bolger, he called up one day and said he wanted to make a donation. He gave $60,000 from his Capital One funds.

Ms. Bolger said his donation says a lot about the small community hall and Mr. Baldwin’s generosity, but wouldn’t comment on his latest mistake.

“Everybody is human,” she said. “We are eternally grateful for his generous contribution.”

As of mid-July, Guild Hall has received $157,000 from the Alec Baldwin Foundation, but Ruth Appelhof, executive director of Guild Hall, did not return numerous phone calls or emails seeking comment. Capital One did not return numerous calls and emails for comment, either.

East Hampton resident, and Press columnist, Steven Gaines, who is gay, said he doesn’t know how these organizations can still take Mr. Baldwin’s money.

“They don’t care,” he said. “People make mistakes once, twice, but three, four or five times? It doesn’t end with him. There are certain things you really can’t forgive.”

He said he doesn’t understand why Capital One still wants to be associated with him.

“Members of the gay community are canceling their accounts with Capital One, but they haven’t said a word,” he said. “How can they remain mum? Why can they forgive him from calling a man a “queen?”

Reverend Dr. Katrina Foster, a gay pastor who has led St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett since 2010, is a little bit more forgiving. She said the original article about Mr. Baldwin’s wife that spurred on his remarks was not a story at all.

“I think the urge to protect oneself is a good urge, but I might’ve done it better,” she said. “Do we all say things we might regret? Sure. That’s not all of who he is.”

She said Mr. Baldwin has contributed a ton to the arts on the East End, including to the scholarship fund at Hayground School in Bridgehampton, which her own family has directly benefited from.

“As a gay person, the terms he used—it wasn’t a good thing to call the guy a ‘queen,’” she said. “I think people are free to put pressure on any groups they want to … but people are more complex than a Tweet.”

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Another shining example of liberal hypocrisy. Everytime a conservative makes even the slightest misstep involving a gay or minority group holy hell breaks out from the media and their left wing allies. Baldwin is a super generous guy and a huge help to East End causes. But because he's a big liberal he gets a pass. Why not just leave him alone. Hope everyone recognizes the double standard of personal conduct that exists for liberals vs. conservatives. Such an unbalanced playing field!
By BillWillConn3 (180), Scarsdale on Jul 31, 13 7:26 AM
3 members liked this comment
Its ironic the groups that want Mr Baldwin fired are groups fighting for their own constitutional rights. Meanwhile they want to take away Mr Baldwins freedom of speech. Mr Baldwin has always had problems with his use of words, and I personally don't like him. But I think we have become very thin skinned, and his stupid comments show he is a complete ass. If you don't like his comments close your capital one account with a letter stating such and they will get the message. As far as Paula Deens ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 31, 13 7:48 AM
There are two things in this world that cannot be retrieved once wasted. One is time, and the other is words.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 31, 13 9:00 AM
Oxford defines the informal use of the word queen as a "male homosexual, typically one being regarded as ostentatiously effeminate". It also defines it as a verb describing a woman's behavior meaning "to behave in an unpleasant and superior way toward" (queen it over).

It has come to light that the Twitter time stamps were off by three hours because apparently Twitter isn't capable of accurately stamping a Tweet, except in the source code of said Tweet, which 99.9% of people will never ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 31, 13 8:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
This brouhaha is absurd, slightly less absurd than the Paula Deen phenomenon but absurd nonetheless.

First, a woman admits to having used the word "nig*er" at some time in her distant past so her media bosses employ nuclear weaponry to appease "outraged" blacks. Then, a man refers to a homosexual (?) as a "queen" and "outraged" gays call for his head. Both groups are reminiscent of Middle East Muslims who exist in a permanent state of anticipatory "outrage" at any perceived defamation ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 31, 13 10:24 AM
2 members liked this comment
Just curious if the term "normal people" includes the author right above this post?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 31, 13 10:32 AM
Thanks...
Aug 2, 13 11:21 AM appended by Mr. Z
Just to throw in a bit of clarification, the paper apologized, and Mr. Baldwin apologized for their conduct. So, if the matter is settled, let it go.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 31, 13 11:21 AM
I think many people jump on Alec Baldwin because he maintains such a high profile and does it in such an ostentatious, sometimes even strident manner. (Witness his dust-up as an entitled American Airlines passenger refusing to shut down his phone while playing Words with Friends.)

But there IS an obvious double standard here, witness the media uproar over Paula Deen's admission to an earlier use of the N-word in a deposition and just this week Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Aug 2, 13 11:03 AM
If it wasn't for the money they all would want him fired!
By left eq (28), Southampton on Jul 31, 13 10:48 AM
There's an LGBT center opening in Sag Harbor. Baldwin just has to add them to his list of Hamptons donations and he's home free. Money is a superlative balm for hurt feelings.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jul 31, 13 4:20 PM
Wonder if they might reject the donation?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 31, 13 5:07 PM
When acts are sunsetting, they do stuff like this to keep their names in the papers. Is this the best local celebrity we got? Liz & Dick he ain't.
By Speonk Shores (31), Remsenburg on Jul 31, 13 7:17 PM