Alec Baldwin

EXCLUSIVE: This Previously Unpublished Elaine Stritch Interview Reveals 10 Reasons We Loved The Irascible Legend

elaine-stritch-grungecake-thumbnail[Editor's note: In 2008, veteran entertainment journalist Brantley Bardin interviewed the brilliant Broadway baby Elaine Stritch, who died July 17 at age 89, for a women's magazine which ultimately decided not to publish it because the editors deemed it too "tough." Bardin, who has exchanged dialogue with an almost endless who's who of challenging show business legends and was a huge fan of Stritch's, calls his conversation with the no-nonsense entertainer perhaps his most harrowing ever. Bardin says Stritch, who decided she would only speak to him on Thanksgiving day while he had 10 guests at his home waiting for their dinner, "was in full, terrifying, high-curmudgeon mode when we spoke. By the end of the interview I was, literally, laid out flat on my bedroom floor. But so what? I got to interview Elaine fucking Stritch!"]

 

6a00d8341c9cc153ef01156f2cdc11970c-500wiBlunt, brash and acerbic (and, okay, a little bit scary, too), 82-year-old stage, screen, and TV legend, Elaine Stritch, is certainly nobody’s cuddly, old grandma. Think more of an octogenarian Courtney Love. Take, for example, last year when she won her third Emmy, this time for her recurring role of Alec Baldwin’s ball-busting mom on 30 Rock. Accepting the award, Stritch showed her ‘sweet’ side when she accepted her statue with the response, “Un-fucking-believable! I’m a recovering alcoholic, a riddled diabetic, and I’ve got laryngitis…but I just won an Emmy!”

Born in Detroit in 1925, Stritch left home for NYC and the Broadway stage at 17 and, voila, at a mere 20, after having studied acting in the same class with a guy named Marlon Brando, found herself understudying Ethel Merman in the hit musical Call Me Madam. By 1970, after having been mentored by the Noel Coward who wrote a musical, Sail Away, specifically for her, she became a bona-fide cult icon with her still unmatched rendition of the classic, booze-soaked anthem, “The Ladies Who Lunch,” from Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Her love life during those years included a romance with Ben Gazzara and an engagement with actor Gig Young to whom she broke it off to date…Rock Hudson (“And we all know what a bum decision that turned out to be,” she later quipped). While living and performing in London in the 1970s she wed British actor, John Bay, who died 10 years later of a brain tumor. She’s been stoically single ever since.

singer-superJumbo-v2-1Making no bones about the fact that, be it in film or on the stage, she imbibed at least two cocktails during every performance, her drinking days ended when, after the final day of shooting Woody Allen’s September in 1987, she suffered a near-fatal diabetic attack — a life-transforming episode she related in her dazzling, Broadway, multi-award-winning, 2001 autobiographical one woman show, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty. Two years later an HBO documentary based around that show won her another Emmy and made her the undisputed star and running joke of the ceremony when she bounded up to the stage and announced, “Just look at the company I’m in here. And I’m so glad none of them won!”

30 RockStill dancing as fast as she can, Stritch recently shot another episode of 30 Rock and is in the midst of reviving At Liberty at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, a ritzy address the self-proclaimed “hotel baby” has called home for the last five years.

Though officially decreed a New York City Living Landmark in 2003 for her contributions to the Broadway theatre, when we first informed the diva that she was to be our inaugural icon in a new column devoted to the wit and wisdom that the Women’s Health woman can learn from those who’ve run the race before them, she lit into us like a fireball. “Icon?! I’ve never known what that word even meant,” she harrumphed in her trademark gravel-meets-grindstone voice. “I think icon is a dumb word.”

Well, sorry, Ms. Stritch, but ya are. And so without further adieu, here are…

THE 10 REASONS WE LOVE ELAINE STRITCH

She can’t be buttered-up by a compliment. 
They’re awfully superfluous — there’s a lot of compliments that you just can’t stand, because they’re just bullshit. But what kind of compliments *do* I like? I’ll know when it comes along.

Elaine-Stritch-performs-at-a-White-House_4_2She doesn’t overanalyze her life choices. 
Why did I want to go into the theatre at 17? I have no idea. Who knows about those things? I don’t have a clue! I wasn’t born into a theatrical family, I was born into a very normal, upper middle-class family in Detroit and… well, I think a lot of it maybe had to do with just that and the fact that I wanted to get out of Detroit. Like, I once said — and I think it’s a pretty damn good line – “The ceilings aren’t high enough in this city.”

She’s prepared — and you damn well better be, too.
You have no business going out there unless you have it right and I know when I get it right and I know when I get it wrong — and I don’t get it wrong very often, not out there onstage. In life, I certainly do, though. Very often. But on the stage, I prepare so completely that…well, I mean people have jobs to do so they prepare for them and then they do them well or they don’t do them well. See, I find that an awful lot of people spend an awful lot of time going, “Oh, I hope I get this right,” but it’s all just emotion, instead of hard work. It’s a rough battle, but the stage is no different from anybody else’s job, no different at all.

She’s a perfectionist, but not proud of it. 
I like to look back on my life and think that every time I’ve done a performance I’ve given it my all — I’m a perfectionist, unfortunately, I can’t do it any other way. But I don’t like being a perfectionist, it’s a very sad situation — it just wears you out.

She’s a workaholic…and has decidedly mixed feelings about that situation. 
I keep performing, because it’s the only thing that gives me satisfaction. It doesn’t satisfy me to sit around and talk with friends and go to movies and plays, I’ve got to perform — it’s a necessity in me. That’s as simple as I can put it. But I don’t really want to do it. I really don’t! I’d rather just take it easy. Because, at my age, I should be relaxing, I shouldn’t have to do a performance every night and go through the nerves and anxiety that accompanies performing. So I don’t really want to do it, but it gives me what I need to live each day so I have to do it. I’m not happy about it. But it’s my reason for being here, for being alive. I don’t feel satisfied unless I’m putting forth some effort. I like to work, it’s as simple as that. Sometimes I work just so I can go to bed at night.

4245She’s got great gams.
I get a lot of exercise and I get enough rest, that’s how I keep in shape. I walk, at least, a couple of miles a day, sometimes, three or four. I wasn’t even conscious of the fact that I had great looking legs until somebody told me, but, yeah, I have good looking legs. I’ll admit that. Now, what’s the next question?

She’s funny, dammit. 
I just did an episode of 30 Rock and being funny on a sitcom is a real trick of the week. Well, being funny any place is, because comedy is very, very hard to do right. What is it that Neil Simon once said? “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” You can’t push comedy or work too hard at it. As Noel Coward once said, “Keep it light, keep it gay, keep it fragrant.” Tragedy is so much more fun to do, though — I like the easy way out and drama is the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s just a cinch. But they never give me a chance to do it, because I’m so damn good at comedy. But, listen, I am really, really glad I have a sense of humor, because it gets me through terribly, terribly difficult things in life. And I really mean exactly what that means: A ‘sense’ of humor.

242She knows her own worth. 
Awards are presents and I love presents of any kind and the Emmy for At Liberty was my greatest award of all time. I was thrilled to death. And I really earned it: My show was the best and it won and, rightfully, so. There’s nothing better than when all those things are present — when I really should have won and I did win.

She appreciates being appreciated, but…
I keep finding out all the time — and am thrilled to death —  that my performances have affected people and that they’ve learned positive things. But what do I hope they get out of me? That’s up to them. What the audience thinks of me is none of my business.

She’s still here, but to that she says, “Yeah? So what?”
I guess it’s natural that people make a fuss that I’m still going, but it’s just what I want to do. It isn’t a big deal.

Watch Stritch’s glorious one-woman show At Liberty in its entirety below.

From Cheyenne Jackson To Barney Frank, Find Out What’s Gay About The Tribeca Film Festival

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The Tribeca Film Festival may be Robert De Niro’s baby, but it’s not all hetero gangster films and indie versions of Meet The Fockers. This year there’s an abundance of films of LGBT-interest that will premiere at the NYC festival, which runs from April 16-27.

Scroll down to read about some of the movies we’re most looking forward to this year.

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Compared to What: The Improbably Journey of Barney Frank chronicles the first openly gay member of Congress, who paved the way for many pivotal LGBT political victories over the past 40 years. There’s also a sure-to-be interesting Tribeca Talk during which Frank will discuss his career with none other than media firebrand (and executive producer on the doc) Alec Baldwin.

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Love Is Strange, out director Ira Sachs’ intriguing follow-up to his acclaimed Keep The Lights On, focuses on a gay couple in Manhattan whose relationship is out to the test and stars John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Cheyenne Jackson.

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Bad Hair (Pelo Malo) tells the story of a young Venezuelan boy who straightens his hair everyday despite his parents’ homophobic complaints.

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The non-fiction film Next Goal Wins follows the American Samoa soccer team, including Jaiyah Saelua, the first transgender player ever to compete in an international FIFA World Cup qualifier.

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A Brony Tale looks at real-life dudes who really, really love My Little Pony.

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Pirouette inside the graceful world of one of the great ballet companies in the documentary Ballet 422.

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Dior and I offers a tantalizing behind-the-scenes peek into the creation of designer Raf Simons’ first Dior Haute Couture collection.

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The fact-based Ice Poison looks at the ravaging effect of crystal meth use in faraway Myanmar.

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Puerto Rico’s transgender community is examined in the compelling doc Mala Mala.

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In the transgressive romance, Something Must Break, straight-identifying Andreas falls for transgender Sebastian/Ellie.

Sir Ian McKellen Puts Damian Lewis In His Place For Calling Him “Fruity” & Other Celeb Feuds

Sir Ian McKellen doesn’t take crap from anyone. Especially not from TV actor Damian Lewis.

During an interview with the UK Guardian in October, Lewis talked about his days as a young stage actor, saying he was afraid that if he couldn’t break out of working in theater, he would turn into “one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

This was an obvious jab at 74-year-old McKellen, who has made a career (not to mention earned millions of dollars and an Academy Award nod) out of playing the wizard Gandalf in the billion-dollar Lord of the Rings film franchise.

“So he feels sorry for me, does he?” McKellen recently told the Radio Times. “Well, I’m very happy. He needn’t worry about me.”

“As for a fruity voice?” he continued. “Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space.”

Snap!

The moral of the story: Never mess with a gay knight.

Scroll down to see four more gay-straight celebrity feuds.

Sir Elton John vs. Madonna

Sir Elton John and Madonna have been going at it for over a decade. Their rivalry started back in 2002, when John slammed Madonna’s song Die Another Day. Since then, John has accused the Queen of Pop of lip-syncing, being a rip-off artist and not accepting his Christmas cards. (We can’t say we blame her.) He’s also called her a “miserable cow,” a “nightmare” and a “fairground stripper” whose “career is over.”

But things really came to head in 2012, when both John and Madonna were up for the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Madonna was nominated for her tune “Masterpiece” from W.E. Meanwhile, John was nominated for his song “Hello Hello” from Gnomeo and Juliet. Madonna beat John, who had previously said she had “no fucking chance” of winning. She later dedicated the song to him during her 2012 MDNA tour.

Anderson Cooper vs. Alec Baldwin

Earlier this year, Anderson Cooper criticized Alec Baldwin for calling a British reporter a “toxic little queen.” Baldwin responded by saying Cooper was only getting involved to improve his standing with the gay community.

A few months later, Baldwin used another antigay slur, which sparked more criticism from Cooper, who said if Baldwin weren’t a liberal, people wouldn’t be so forgiving of his homophobia.

Turns out, people weren’t as forgiving the second time around. After his comments went viral, Baldwin suffered a wave of bad press before being fired by MSNBC. He’s since retreated into hiding with his tail between his legs. Here’s hoping he stays there for a while.

Frank Ocean vs. Chris Brown

The feud between R&B singers Frank Ocean and Chris Brown began in 2011 when the two engaged in a Twitter battle that ended with Brown threatening to send “cousins” over to chase after Ocean. Then a year later, in the summer of 2012, Brown called Ocean a “homo.” And in January 2013, the two got into a parking lot brawl in Los Angeles, which resulted in fists being thrown followed by Brown reportedly calling Ocean a “faggot.” We think it’s safe the say that these two really don’t like each other.

Rosie O’Donnell vs. Donald Trump

The bad blood between Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump dates all the way back to 2006, when O’Donnell made fun of the millionaire’s hair on an episode of The View. Trump responded by calling her “a woman out of control” and threatening to sue. “Rosie will rue the words she said,” he said. Then he called her “fat” and “a real loser.”

But that was just the beginning.

Over the years, the two have gone after one another a number of times. Usually it involves O’Donnell criticizing Trump for something, and him responding by calling her some sort of name — “failure, “pig,” “bully,” that sort of thing.

In 2012, Trump compared Cher to O’Donnell after the diva expressed her disdain for Mitt Romney on Twitter. Trump tweeted: “Like @Rosie O’Donnell, a total loser!”

O’Donnell tweeted back: “He returns – like a raging herpes rash. He wants me … He needs me – he is obsessed … like a grandpa stalker.”

Earlier this year, however, the dueling hotheads appeared to have reconciled after O’Donnell suffered a heart attack. “@Rosie, get better fast. I’m starting to miss you!” Trump tweeted.

Joan Rivers Insults Blacks, Gays And Everyone In Between In Support Of Alec Baldwin

joan-tmzAmerica’s original sweetheart, Joan Rivers, responded to the news of MSNBC firing noted diva-best-believa Alec Baldwin the only way Joan Rivers could: by openly insulting every racial and ethnic group she could possibly think of in under 30 seconds.

Joan’s an old hat at this so when TMZ caught up with her, the legendary harridan was able to fire off six epithets, slandering the Italians, the Blacks, the Jews, the Chinese, the gays and of course, the Irish. That’s nothing compared to her glory days — women have gained the right to vote since then — but still an admirable number. You know, in a comically racist way:

Joan: What do I think about Alec [Baldwin]? Everybody just relax. Everybody’s either a w*p, a n###a, a k!ke, a ch%nk, a f@iry, a m$ck — everybody’s something so why don’t we all just. Calm. Down.

TMZ: And we should be thankful for you.

Joan : Be thankful that we’re all living in America and stop everybody getting so damn uptight! And this goes for the Indians — both dot and feather!

Before they part, the TMZ guy and Joan wish each other a Happy Chanukah, which is a nice, warm ending to this profanity-laden lesson in understanding. Sure she was making a point, albeit in an extreme way, but when Joan Rivers calls you a c^cksucking f&g, you know it’s coming from a place of love. Happy Chanukah everybody.

h/t: TMZ

UPDATE: MSNBC Fires Alec Baldwin For Homophobic Rant And Divalike Behavior

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Following the announcement that MSNBC had canceled Alec Baldwin’s six-week-old talk show after the furor over his most recent public use of antigay language, the actor spoke with website Gothamist and laid much of the blame for his dismissal on the hands of media watchdogs who’ve had their fill of his hasty apologies but continued use of homophobic slurs.

“But you’ve got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy — Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they’re out there, they’ve got you,” he said. “Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself.”

Ferraro, GLAAD’s VP of Communications, quickly released his own response:

I consider GLAAD’s campaigns to end the Boy Scout of America’s ban on gay scouts, raise national visibility of the violence and inequality facing transgender people, and battling for marriage equality to be among my ‘greatest triumphs.’ But if a teacher, coach, local radio show host, or parent realizes that anti-LGBT slurs are outdated and unacceptable because of this Baldwin issue, I guess we’ll call it a win. Alec Baldwin’s team has not been open to turning this incident into an opportunity for public education and that’s unfortunate.

We previously reported:

MSNBC has given Alec Baldwin the old heave-ho after the temperamental thespian’s homophobic rant against a paparazzo to whom he so warmly referred as a “cocksucking fag.”

According to Page Six, Baldwin’s obnoxious outburst was only partly to blame for his dismissal, as it turns out Ms. Alec is giving Mimi a run for her coins in the diva demands department:

Besides demanding a humidifier because he claimed the air at 30 Rock was too dry, Baldwin alienated staffers when he demanded a separate makeup room being used by a woman with cancer who is sensitive to hairspray. When Baldwin was told he couldn’t have his way, he allegedly bellowed at the top of his lungs, “I don’t give a f?-?-?k if she has cancer or not, I want that f?-?-?king makeup room.”

Sounds like working with charm itself. When reached for comment, Baldwin’s spokesman refused to acknowledge an actual “firing,” though he did concede that the show would not be coming back, while insisting that Baldwin “had questions on whether he wanted to continue.”

Those questions were more or less answered by the dismal ratings of Up Late with Alec Baldwin, his frequent public ragings and his apparent wig snatching at MSNBC. Well, now that he and Ann Coulter are BFFs, maybe Baldwin can find a home at Fox News. They’re a lot more tolerant of those kinds of shenanigans.

Ann Coulter Defends Alec Baldwin In Op-Ed: He Was “Not Engaging in ‘Homophobia’”

You know you must be in the wrong when Ann Coulter steps up to your defense.

Yesterday, the dragon lady published an op-ed in support of Alec Baldwin’s homophobic outburst earlier this month when he was caught on tape allegedly calling a photographer a “cocksucking fag.”

“It is perfectly obvious Baldwin was just cursing the guy out with whatever bad words popped into his head,” Coulter wrote, “not engaging in ‘homophobia’ against an actual gay person.”

Evidently, hurling aggressive gay slurs at people doesn’t count as homophobia in Coulter’s book. For some reason this doesn’t surprise us.

Coulter also called Baldwin’s outburst “justified,” then accused his critics, both liberal and conservative, of being “shortsighted” and enforcing a policy “where careers are ended over a word.”

“Liberals don’t mind abortion, sexual promiscuity, adultery, lying or criminal behavior,” the professional shit-stirrer wrote. “They save all their moral indignation for people who use politically incorrect words.”

Then, in true Coulter form, she completely deviated from the topic at hand and started talking about all the reasons why Alec Baldwin is actually a victim.

The badly-Botoxed ice queen sympathized with him for having a stalker, defended him for calling his 11-year-old daughter a “fat pig” back in 2007, expressed her distain for his “feminist” ex-wife Kim Basinger, condoned his refusal to turn off an electronic device on a plane, and praised him for appearing with Sarah Palin on SNL back in 2008, “unlike the drama queen Tina Fey, who refused to share the stage with Palin.”

(For the record: This is untrue. Tina Fey did share the stage with Palin on SNL… But we’re still not sure how this is relevant to Alec Baldwin’s comments made earlier this month.)

Whatever Coulter’s motive is for publishing this op-ed (For publicity? For traffic? Maybe she really, truly cares about Baldwin’s well-being?), it’s likely not going to help the actor/suspended MSNBC host’s cause. The only thing more toxic than an endorsement from the dragon lady would be taking a dip in Lake Karachay.

Oh, You’re Anti-Gay Marriage? Well, You’re A Weak-A** B*tch, Says Joe Rogan

joe-roganFormer Fear Factor host, Newsradio alum and noted hunk of man (see right) Joe Rogan has put my heart in a headlock with his profanity-laced diatribe against homophobes opposed to same-sex marriage, dismissing them simply as “weak-ass bitches.”

On his Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan recalls moving from the “incredibly open-minded” haven of San Francisco to Bizarro World’s San Francisco — Florida — and immediately noticing the difference when a friend’s dad got into a tizzy over the incredulous news that “they’re letting fags get married”:

“He was mad. He was throwing the newspaper down. I was 11 and I was like, what a silly man you are. You’re a grown man and this is something that bothers you and concerns you? I remember thinking as an 11-year-old boy, ‘Man, there are some weak-ass bitches out there posing as men.’ Like, you dummy. Why do you care? What, are you a tough guy because you care that two guys want to kiss each other? It’s so stupid. It’s such a dumb thing to get behind.”

Though he’s expressed similar sentiment in similar sentimental fashion — tweeting back in February that “the only people that don’t want gay marriage are stupid or secretly worried dicks are delicious” — Rogan’s an ally of the Alec Baldwin variety. In 2010 he dropped an f-bomb on a Brazilian journalist over some petty bro shit, only to issue an apology replacing “faggot” with “cocksucker.” I’m assuming his hairdresser was unavailable.

h/t: Raw Story

 

QUESTION: Should The LGBT Community Demand More From Our Allies?

ally-image-2We go to their concerts, buy their music, watch them clash with other Real Housewives, and drool over every shirtless video they release, but what have our “allies” done for us lately?

As Alec Baldwin showed us last week, some are only a mild frustration away from becoming f-bomb-dropping homophobes.

One almost expects a Bravo reality star to ride in a float during a pride parade or show face at a glitzy gala. And while Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cash checks and gay bars across the country are filled to the gills with aspiring pop divas who so desperately want to be the next Big Gay Thing, we pose the question to you Queerty readers:

Should The LGBT Community Demand More From Our Allies?  

Alec Baldwin Jokes About Backlash Over Antigay Comments By Pretending To Love Another Man

Alec Baldwin tried to laugh off the controversy surrounding homophobic comments he made last week by publicly declaring his love for another man at a tech conference in San Francisco.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Baldwin asked a member of his entourage to stand up, then he said, jokingly:

“I want you to be my lover, Matt. I love you, Matt. I love you in that way.”

A straight man pretending to be gay? Hilarious!

The audience reportedly thought so. After they had finished laughing, Baldwin said something about loving certain men more than women during his life. Although, he was careful to note, “never in a sexual way.”

Thanks for clarifying, Alec.

Then he went back to playing the victim again, a role he’s grown quite good at over the past week. Reflecting on the public’s response to last week’s video, the Associated Press quotes Baldwin as saying:

“There is a drive-by justice to the Internet society. They indict you, convict you and hang you on the same day.”

The 55-year-old actor/suspended MSNBC host seems to forget that he has an ongoing history of making antigay comments. In June of this year, he called a British reporter a “toxic little queen.” Reports of him using other homophobic epithets have followed him for years.

Perhaps this isn’t “drive-by justice,” as he purports. Perhaps people are just finally holding him accountable for being a longtime homophobe.

Alec Baldwin’s Daughter Says What Her Dad Said Was Wrong, But What He Felt Wasn’t

BaldwinsSometimes we let our tempers get the best of us. Tempers are like wildfires. Something or someone can easily fuel the fire…It takes a lot of strength for someone to release their anger. It takes a lot of strength and SUPPORT for someone to grow and become a better person. We all say things we don’t mean. We all say things we can’t take back…For someone who has battled with anger management issues, my dad has grown tremendously. My dad is far from a homophobe or a racist. From what you’ve read and from what media has been shoved down your throats, he has a kind heart. Having paparazzi following my mom and I has not been thrilling. Paparazzi can bring out many confined feelings of anger and spite out of anyone.

My point being, what my dad said was WRONG. What my dad felt WASN’T. Boundaries have to be made. Paparazzi have jobs to do, but some of them jeopardize people’s lives and cross a line. My dad has an INFANT CHILD to protect. All the parents out there should understand. You would do anything to protect your baby. Now, let’s all quit acting like children. Let my dad be and let him have his room to learn and enjoy his family. As someone very wise once said, ‘Be peaceful and love everyone’ COME ONNNN EVERYONE. Let’s just all be thankful that we are alive!”

 

Ireland Baldwin, the model daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, using her Twitter account to defending her father against the charge of yet another alleged homophobic rant against paparazzi