A Close Read of Alec Baldwin’s Wild Defense of His Wife

Hilaria/Hillary and Alec Baldwin. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Over Christmas weekend, Santa graciously presented the weary public with one last gift to unwrap: drama. Had Hilaria Baldwin, the yoga-instructing wife of Alec, been faking her Spanish accent and heritage for years? Was “Hilaria from Mallorca” in fact “Hillary from Boston”?

Basically, yes. In her own Instagram video addressing the scandal, Hilaria (Hillary? Hillaryia?) explained that — contrary to her own IMDb and agency speaker site, which claim she was born in Mallorca — she was actually born in Boston, though she says she’s “a different kind of Bostonian” and that she “grew up with the two cultures.” She also said that the fuss over her name is silly because “Hillary” and “Hilaria” were only a few letters apart. Notably absent from her video was the heavy Spanish accent in which she had conducted previous interviews.

The public was delighted with this gift. After months of only the heaviest and darkest of headlines, such an absurd story was a welcome escape. Some close to Hillary/Hilaria were understandably less pleased with the coverage. Like her husband, Alec, who took to his own Instagram on Sunday to share what is easily one of the most confounding videos I have ever watched in my life. What seemed intended to be a defense of his wife soon turned out to be …. an eight-minute rant about social media? And, [checks notes] uh, Jeffrey Epstein?

Let’s break it down together.

The video opens with ten seconds of deeply unsettling silence. Baldwin stares into the camera and then looks away, breathing deeply. He appears to be trying to compose himself before scolding us, the way parents might try to gather themselves before yelling at a child for doing a Sharpie drawing on the dining-room wall (in this case, the drawing is of Hilaria in a Patriots jersey with a big iced coffee from Dunkin’ in her hand and a speech bubble that says, “Pahk the cah in Plaça Major”).

Here comes the impassioned defense of his wife, I thought, an explanation about how this is all a big misunderstanding. But no. Instead, Baldwin begins to lay out his feelings about various social-media platforms? He has a Facebook page, but only as a placeholder so people don’t impersonate him, he says. He has Twitter, but he would get rid of it if he could. And he enjoys Instagram, but he wishes it weren’t owned by Facebook. “Let’s face it, Facebook is a corporation you should avoid if you could. You should avoid them if you can.”

Okay, interesting. There are a number of important, valid criticisms to level at Facebook. Which angle would Baldwin take? Was he about to touch on the antitrust case against it? Its failure to stem the tide of misinformation? That would sort of make sense, if he were to argue that this whole Hilaria scandal is “fake news.” But no. Baldwin’s primary concern with Facebook, as a corporation, seemed to be its leaders’ lack of personal growth.

What’s up with the people who created Facebook? I don’t know. They sound like they’re … They sound like people who never knew who they were to begin with, which is why they invent crap like this. And they’ve only gotten worse. Owning Facebook, founding Facebook, reaping the billions of dollars that have resulted from creating and growing Facebook hasn’t achieved anything in terms of their personal growth. They’re a certain kind of person, and now they’re the same kind of person that they were back when, just with a whole lot more money. But it hasn’t really improved them, changed them, helped them to grow. Sounds like the people who founded Facebook and run Facebook are pretty … Whatever.

Did this guy just watch The Social Network for the first time and learn about how Facebook started with the idea to compare girls’ hotness? Would Facebook’s various international, large-scale transgressions be more palatable if Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) were to somehow self-actualize? We have to move on, but hopefully the Senate Judiciary Committee will raise these comments the next time it interrogates Zuckerberg.

Next, Baldwin goes on for a bit about the ills of Twitter and how it’s like a “swap meet” full of junk as well as the occasional treasure. “You kind of have to hack your way through the debris on Twitter,” he says. “Twitter is just a vast orchard of crap. And I have certainly flung some crap in that orchard myself every now and then.”

Now that we all have an image of Alec Baldwin hurling feces at unsuspecting guests in a picturesque apple orchard, surely it’s time for him to address what’s going on with his wife, right? Wrong. According to Baldwin, it’s time to bring up something no one on planet Earth was talking about when it came to his wife’s scandal: the deceased billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

You know, all the people that would write to me: Pizzagate! Epstein! And I thought, I never met Epstein in my life. They said to me: Well, your phone number was in his phone book. Well, my phone number was in his phone book, like … That’s what we call the Dummy Line. If it was the number that I think it is. It’s an office line, I have an answering service, which we’ve given to people for 30 years. Which is the number we give you when we don’t wanna return your phone call at all, or not too promptly.

At this point, if I were Hillary/Hilaria, I would be annoyed. It’s been over five minutes, and my husband has yet to mention me or defend me. He mentioned Epstein before me! Every marriage is different, though, and everyone’s communication style is different, which is why I guess it took this long for Baldwin to land on his central message: consider the source.

He says this seven times, often twice in a row. Consider the source. Consider the source. TMZ and the New York Post are “sewage treatment plants,” Baldwin says. (Sewage treatment plants actually clean filth and contaminants out of wastewater and leave it cleaner than before, so it’s not the perfect metaphor, but you see what he’s going for.) He says some stuff that’s been said about him over the years is true, but a lot of it is fake. He talks and talks, with a lot of long pauses, and still, we have yet to get to the Spain scandal.

Finally, in the video’s last seconds, he leans in and whispers, “When you love somebody, you wanna defend them.” And then: “Consider the source.”

So … does that clear everything up for you? Happy holidays.

A Close Read of Alec Baldwin’s Wild Defense of His Wife