Alec Baldwin Ends MSNBC Show Amid Controversy Over Anti-Gay Slur

Alec Baldwin Ends MSNBC Show Amid
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Alec Baldwin and MSNBC have agreed to part ways on his short-lived interview show “Up Late” following a controversy that erupted over the actor’s use of an anti-gay slur in an encounter with a photographer.

Sources close to the situation insist that Baldwin was not fired from the NBCU news cabler, but that the sides “mutually” agreed to end the show in light of the dust-up. An MSNBC spokeswoman did not immediately respond to queries seeking comment. MSNBC had suspended the program for two weeks, which meant it should have returned to the schedule this Friday at 10 p.m.

The New York Post was first to report Baldwin’s exit from the cabler.

The imbroglio centered on a remark the actor was overheard making when warding off photographers he felt were getting too close to his family after his appearance in a particularly sensitive court case involving a woman accused of stalking him. Baldwin later apologized for the remark on Twitter and on MSNBC’s website.

Baldwin’s program featured guests in one-on-one conversation with the actor, who has a long relationship with NBCUniversal via his tenure on “30 Rock,” which aired on the NBC broadcast network, and as a host multiple times on “Saturday Night Live.” The show’s premiere featured an hourlong interview with Bill de Blasio, just days before he was elected mayor of New York City.

While announcement of the program on MSNBC raised some eyebrows – Baldwin is not a journalist, and his support for liberal causes is well known – its ratings were not stellar. The most recent episode, broadcast November 8, reached 395,000 viewers overall, according to Nielsen data. Among viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, the demographic preferred by advertisers in news programming, 101,000 tuned in. In contrast, the premiere of “Up Late” attracted 654,000 viewers overall and 172,000 between the ages of 25 to 54.

Prior to launching “Up Late,” MSNBC was running documentary-style programming under the rubric “MSNBC Investigates.”

The suspension does not mark the first time MSNBC has taken one of its personalities off the air. In 2010, MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann, then its best-known anchor, after discovering he had made political donations to three Democratic congressional candidates – an act that was said to be in violation of NBC News ethics policies. In the end, the suspension lasted just a handful of days.

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  1. There is no such thing as freedom of speech anymore, haven’t people been taught that sticks and stones will break bones, not words. Yes, words may not be nice sometimes, but what a person says, their opinions or feelings should not be cause for them to be reprimanded in any way!

  2. Marilyn Medlock says:

    I liked his show and I’ll miss it. Certainly no point in watching MSNBC late at night.

  3. I can forgive anyone for saying something stupid or inappropriate but his referral to some kind of “”Gay agenda” or plot is one of the oldest slurs against my people. I wish, after 66 years of life as a Gay man, someone would fill me in on that secret agenda is. I’ve been all over and never could find anyone who knew. I just want the freedom to live, work and be a part of society without some nameless bigot walking up to me and beating or shooting me from hate. Anyone referring to any kind of “those people” is making a statement that they are a different class of human beings. I was talked to judge everyone I meet on the merits of who they are as individuals. I wouldn’t dream of calling an African-American I was having an argument with (or anyone) the “N” word. It’s disgusting.

  4. Frank W says:

    I don’t know what the problem is. Calling someone who is invading your space–though in public you can photograph anything you want doesn’t mean you can shout questions at them–a cigarette or a bundle of sticks gets a man to lose his show? I’d let him go for shilling for Crapitol One, the lying bastards of banking. Someone tell Sam Jackson about how they change their interest rates without cause.

  5. Hugh C Young says:

    He lost his temper off air in a non scripted encounter. I do not like nor agree with Alec Baldwin but he should not have been suspended or fired for this rant. On the other hand Bashir should have been fired. Rant on Air against Palin was not only over the top but a sick remark against a woman and not called for nor deserved. If he said it about Hillary, he would have been fired right on the spot. Double Standard?

  6. ash says:

    Dont mess with the gay lobby suckas

  7. charcramer says:

    Is Martin Bashir getting a pass because he’s a British friend of the new NBC News president? And what about Chris Matthews? He is the king of sexist comments. Alec Baldwin should never have been hired in the first place. What happened to hiring real journalists? MSNBC seems to believe any publicity is good publicity but they have ruined NBC News’ reputation.

  8. carlos montoya says:

    msnbc cnn are now know as first cousins to fox

  9. libiam says:

    What a shame. His show was a refreshing change from the same old content. MSNBC’s loss as well as the viewers.

  10. Dick Delson says:

    A lot of talent and a big mouth to go with it. Alec, let your publicist handle this kind of stuff. I do for my clients. Stay calm, cool and collected.

  11. G. Jardoness says:

    Please insert ‘E-Trade Baby’s – Shocked Face’ here:

    Hey MSNBC, why not give Cenk, and his fellow ‘The Young Turks’ Current TV orphans a call?

    • OneMan says:

      You DO know that Cenk used to be on MSNBC, right? And that even though his ratings were great, he was still deemed too edgy and had to leave? He even made a couple videos about it, called “Why I Left MSNBC”.

  12. jschmidt says:

    still waiting for MSNBC to do something about Bashir and his foul mouth. But of course it was about Palin so I guess it is ok.

  13. Michael T says:

    Mistakes?

    Where?

    I even tested the entire article with Microsoft Word and found no errors.

    {head scratch}

  14. Steph says:

    I always cut Alec a lot of slack because I knew he supported liberal causes, but this time he just said the wrong thing ONE TOO MANY TIMES. I’m over him.

  15. Matt says:

    What will MSNBC do now? those are some big shoes to fill…think of the ratings.

    Maybe some newer infomercials may be the answer.

  16. Mal says:

    Now what about that guy Martin Bashir? He sounds like a latent serial killer.

  17. Dalton says:

    You sir are a total moron, typical CON, everything you say is a lie…!

  18. Checkmate King Two says:

    How will we know when he’s gone?

  19. Bobo Brazil says:

    Rachel Maddow threatened to kick Alex’s a**, so he asked MSNBC to kindly remove him from the airwaves to avoid such embarrassment. I don’t know why Rev. Al didn’t paint the ground red with Alex after Alex’s anti-black tirade; perhaps The Reverend endorses such behavior.

  20. Lucas Austin says:

    When are the cowards going to fire the Muslim POS Martin Bashir?

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