"Well, let me put it to you this way, Nick. Your name is Nick? Nick, let me begin by asking you a question. Who would you say, by your estimation, is the most homophobic member of the entertainment industry currently in the media?"And he paused for a long count of four and said, "Um … Alec Baldwin?"And I said, "Ding, ding, ding, ding! Bingo, Nick, bingo! That's who you're talking to."He said, "C'mon!"I said, "Nick, I want to come in and talk."
…fresh on the heels of being labeled a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice.
New York was my town. I've had people come up to me and say, "You're a great New Yorker." I've lived in New York since 1979. It was a place that they gave you your anonymity. And not just if you were famous. New Yorkers nodded at you. New Yorkers smiled at you at the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop. New Yorkers would make a terse comment to you. "Big fan," they'd say. "Loved you in Streetcar," they'd say.
It used to be you'd go into a restaurant and the owner would say, "Do you mind if I take a picture of you and put it on my wall?" Sweet and simple. Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket.
And now we don't leave each other alone. Now we live in a digital arena, like some Roman Colosseum, with our thumbs up or thumbs down.The first thing that cell phones did was to kill the autograph business. Nobody cares about your autograph. There are cameras everywhere, and there are media outlets for them to "file their story." They take your picture in line for coffee. They're trying to get a picture of your baby. Everyone's got a camera. When they're done, they tweet it. It's…unnatural.
I had dreams of running for office at some point in the next five years. In the pyramid of decision-making in New York City politics, rich people come first, unions second, and rank-and-file New Yorkers come dead last. I wanted to change that. I wanted to find a way to lower the cost of the city government and thus reduce New York's shameful tax burden. I would have decentralized the schools.
I think America's more fucked up now than it's ever been. People are angry that in the game of musical chairs that is the U.S. economy, there are less seats at the table when the music stops.
New York has changed. Even the U.S., which is so preposterously judgmental now. The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. Who would ever dream that Obama would deserve to be treated the way he has been?
They want clicks, I get it. They've gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they're going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent.
MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.Morning Joe was boring. Scarborough is neither eloquent nor funny. And merely cranky doesn't always work well in the morning. Mika B. is the Margaret Dumont of cable news. I liked Chris Jansing a lot. Very straightforward. I like Lawrence O'Donnell, but he's too smart to be doing that show. Rachel Maddow is Rachel Maddow, the ultimate wonk/dweeb who got a show, polished it, made it her own.
Another told me, regarding the "toxic little queen" comment, that Rachel Maddow was the prime mover in my firing, as she was aghast that I had been hired and viewed me as equivalent to Mel Gibson. Another source told me, "You know who's going to get you fired, don't you? Rachel. Phil [Griffin] will do whatever Rachel tells him to do." I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does. I also think she's a phony who doesn't have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.
Phil Griffin is the head of MSNBC, and when I saw that Griffin didn't have a single piece of paper on his desk, meeting after meeting after meeting, that should have been my first indication there was going to be a problem.I'd go see Phil and I'd say, "What are the ratings?" If I had 15 meetings with Phil Griffin, 5 of them were after the show, with me saying, "What do you make of these ratings?" He'd say, "Don't worry. It takes time." (We beat Cooper two of three Fridays at ten.)
I called him a "toxic little queen," and, thus, Anderson Cooper, the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture, suggested I should be "vilified," in his words. I didn't feel bad about the incident. He lied about my wife. They say this is what comes with stardom—I don't agree with you.
The first name they came up with was Rob Lowe. They said, Rob Lowe's going to be in the building. Do you want to interview Rob? I said, "Not particularly." Rob's a famous star of films, TV. He's Rob Lowe. He's famous. But there's no shortage of outlets for him. And they looked at me like, You really don't get it.I think they thought, You should have just said yes, simply to play the game.
When he came to rehearsal, he was told it was important to memorize his lines. He took that to heart and learned all his lines in advance, even emailing me videos in which he read aloud his lines from the entire play. To prove he had put in the time. I, however, do not learn my lines in advance. So he began to sulk because he felt we were slowing him down. You could tell right away he loves to argue. And one day he attacked me in front of everyone. He said, "You're slowing me down, and you don't know your lines. And if you don't say your lines, I'm just going to keep saying my lines." I said, "I'll tell you what, I'll go." I said don't fire the kid, I'll quit. They said no, no, no, no, and they fired him.
I was despondent about his death. Jimmy was a "showbiz friend," one with whom I had worked and greeted warmly whenever our paths crossed. His death hit me somewhat hard, considering his baby daughter and the fact that he was younger than me. I ended up attacking a reporter who wrote in the Daily Mailonline that my wife was tweeting from Jimmy's funeral.
Harvey Levin exists in his own universe. He's this kind of cretinous barnacle on the press. Levin told the world that that muffled sound on the video—Levin wanted everyone to know he knows what it is. You don't know, and I don't know, but Levin knows, and he tells the world that it's "faggot."In the recent video, you see me completely riled up and going after this guy and you hear me saying "cocksucker" and then some bisyllabic word that sounds like "faggot"—but wasn't. Still, it doesn't matter. glaad comes after me and Anderson Cooper comes after me and Andrew Sullivan comes after me, all maintaining that I'm a hateful homophobe.
After the TMZ event, Capital One did not renew my contract, although it politely said the two things were unrelated. AT&T had booked me for a paid speech in Orlando—and then canceled. WNYC lost funding for my radio show. Bill de Blasio, who apparently gets his news from TMZ, too, distanced himself from me.
When this whole thing happened, Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: Your problem is a very basic one, and it's very common to actors. And that's when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment.I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now.
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