Alec Baldwin is not the most popular guy right now, least of all with the minimum wage workers whose protest in the streets of Manhattan last week irked the millionaire so much he took to Twitter to wage his own protest while he waited in traffic.
“(They should protest) somewhere where they’re not going to block the rush hour here in Manhattan at 6 o’clock in the evening. That’s a terrible idea. Life in New York is hard enough as it is. I know that when the Occupy Wall Street movement did this, the cops beat the hell out of them. Do you see any cops beating these people up now? Why do you think they’re not?”
And you can just imagine the response Baldwin’s tweets have received since they were posted Wednesday night. Alternet was particularly unforgiving, calling the actor, and people like him, “ostensibly liberal sympathizers who want to look politically engaged but are too lazy or frightened to support the protesters and need a superficially populist reason not to do so.”
Ouch. Here’s why Baldwin’s critics have taken, in the days following his controversial Tweets, to eviscerating the actor.
People were in the streets last week for a pretty good reason, the Washington Times reported: Their protest was a last-ditch effort – as in-the-streets protests often are – to increase minimum wage from $8.75 to $15 an hour. The #FightFor15 protest is simply an attempt by these low-wage to earn “the privilege to just barely be over the poverty line,” Alternet complained.
NY's ethos dissolves every day that individuals or groups put their needs/goals ahead of everyone else's— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) April 15, 2015
@ABFalecbaldwin aren't you putting your needs ahead of theirs by asking them not to bother you with their protest?— Larry Piklor (@lpiklor) April 15, 2015
@ABFalecbaldwin Shorter: F$*K YOUR RIGHTS AS INDIVIDUALS! You're making me late for my mani-pedi! - Alec Baldwin— Linda Baker (@LuckyL8e) April 16, 2015
Rachel L. Swarns, who wrote a subtly snarky letter in The New York Times to Alec Baldwin, was a little more subdued in her response, but no less forceful.
” I must confess that I worried that your Twitter message sounded just a teensy bit insensitive to the protesters who, after all, just want to feed their families, pay rent and try to stay afloat.”
But more to the point, Baldwin’s unhappy tweets demonstrated a lack any understanding about what protests are meant to do: Tick off people like him – the rich, upper-class and privileged –by interrupting their lives enough to make them take take notice, wrote Adam Johnson of Alternet. In other words, inconvenience is exactly the point, Alec.
“Does he know how ‘inconvenient’ it is to be one of the 4 million New Yorkers who live near or below the poverty line? Does he know how ‘inconvenient’ it is to work your ass off for a $300 check?”
Given that Alec Baldwin is worth $67 million, it’s safe to say he probably does not.
Back to Swarns’ letter. That a protest in the streets of Manhattan caused what was undoubtedly an annoying traffic jam, the delay in Alec’s important routine shouldn’t have been used to make his own protest on Twitter, she wrote. It should’ve been a moment to stop and do what you’re supposed to do –take notice.
“Think instead of the workers who are trying to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads. Remind yourself that if traffic is your biggest hassle on a Wednesday night in New York City, you’re probably doing just fine.”
What do you think? Was Alec Baldwin’s Twitter protest unfair or on point?
[Photo Courtesy: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]