Alec Baldwin to quit public life

Actor says he is sick of being a celebrity.

by Jennie Kermode

Just weeks after Shia LaBeouf's announcement that he is quitting acting, Alec Baldwin has declared that he no longer wants to be a celebrity. In a coruscating letter to New York Magazine, in which he referenced LaBeouf, whom he says he feels sorry for, he describes feeling increasingly hounded in an altered media landscape.

Baldwin references an incident that took place last November when he apparently used a homophobic insult against a photographer, and insists this was an invented story, despite the whole incident having been filmed. He stresses that some of his best friends are gay and says that he is used to photographers deliberately baiting him. Accepting that his reactions to such incidents have not always been reasonable, he notes that he has also been distressed by the way parts of the press have treated his wife and baby, especially in relation to the funeral of his friend James Gandolfini.

"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," he remembers. "Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket. Add to that predatory photographers and predatory videographers who want to taunt you and catch you doing embarrassing things... You’re out there in a world where if you do make a mistake, it echoes in a digital canyon forever."

Baldwin says that he never intends to talk about his personal life to an US publication again. "I want to go make a movie and be very present for that and give it everything I have, and after we’re done, then the rest of the time is mine."

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