Not all culture cancellations are the same. The emerging “news” that Hilaria Baldwin (wife of former screen star Alec Baldwin) has been faking her Spanish origins is the subject of much recent online mirth, starting with the New York Post. Yet somehow this ignominy has earned her not condemnation, but a supportive platform in the New York Times, headlined “Hilaria Baldwin: ‘I’m Living My Life.’”
Stop the presses!
The story’s text box at least clarified, “She speaks out after being accused of faking her heritage.” But reporter Katherine Rosman’s long interview served as aggressive public relations on Hilaria’s behalf.
The Times seems almost embarrassed to have to cover the unpleasantness. There is a palpable reluctance to criticize the celebrity who may or may not be “Latinx,” or whatever liberals say these days.
Over the last week or so, millions of people, cooped up and tired and probably too online at the end of the year, have been surprised to learn that Hilaria Baldwin, 36 and the mother of five children with her husband, the actor Alec Baldwin, is not a Spaniard but an American who was born and raised in Boston and who was known, at least until 2009, as Hillary.
Such ethnic appropriation would ordinarily be taken very seriously in the newly woke confines of the New York Times, but for some reason Hilaria Baldwin is getting a pass, while her critics are portrayed as having too much time to scroll through social media stirring up trouble.
Rosman showed far more sympathy for a star’s pampered wife than she did for high school kids getting their futures ruined on social media. This summer she reported that “High School Students and Alumni Are Using Social Media to Expose Racism.”
Plus, a recent viral Times story took the side of a vengeful “woke” teen who held on to a three-second recording of a white classmate singing rap lyrics for years, in order to ruin the girl’s college acceptance.
For days now, the internet and the news media have dogged her, sharing evidence of Ms. Baldwin speaking in a Spanish accent in this video but not that one, of fluffy magazine spreads in ¡Hola! that cite her as a native Spanish speaker, of a “Today” show clip showing her making gazpacho and asking Telemundo’s Evi Sisko what the English word for cucumbers is and of a biography posted on the website of Creative Artists Agency, the talent organization, that said she was born in Mallorca, Spain.
Rosman provides Baldwin a lot of rope.
Ms. Baldwin is bilingual, and she speaks English with varying degrees of a Spanish accent depending on how happy or upset she is feeling, she said. She didn’t know that ¡Hola! magazine, for which she has twice posed for the cover and which has written some 20 items about her on its English-language website so far this year, repeatedly reported inaccurately that she was a Spaniard because she said she didn’t read articles about herself. She got confused about the word for cucumber because it was one of her first times appearing on live television and she was nervous (“brain fart,” she said). As for the C.A.A. bio, she can only assume the agency used unverified information from the internet to write a sloppy bio. “I rarely at all work with C.A.A. now,” she said. “It was very disappointing.”….
After that litany of beyond-lame explanations, Rosman has the nerve to dismiss the perfectly valid concerns as “misconceptions.”
Rosman, whose reporting previously celebrated social media shaming of teenage “racists,” is conveniently judgmental about Twitter pile-ons when the target is Alec Baldwin’s wife, who has far more resources than the average teenager to defend herself – like the ability to get a quick, well-placed, sympathetic interview from the paper of record.
The trouble began for Ms. Baldwin on Dec. 21. That is when a woman who uses the Twitter handle @Lenibriscoe (like the “Law & Order” character Lennie Briscoe, get it?) decided to answer her pandemic holiday ennui by thumb-typing out something that had been on her mind. “You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person,” the woman wrote….