By Stacy Jenel Smith
Alec Baldwin's verbal beating of his daughter as a "rude, thoughtless little pig" has put the actor in the forefront of stars whose behavior appalls the general public. It's not the first time he's endured such a dubious distinction.
Today it's the voicemail rant in which Baldwin tells 11-year-old Ireland, "I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you're a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned." Back in 1998, it was his invective against the congressman whose committee had to decide whether to impeach President Clinton. You might recall it: "If we were in another country... we would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families." Baldwin later claimed his tirade, delivered on Conan O'Brien's show, was a joke. When he was seen berating a New York City cop for not allowing him to cross police lines to go where he wanted - due to a plane crash - his publicist claimed he was merely asking the officer for directions. (Ah, press agents. You gotta love 'em.)
Baldwin threw such tantrums during last year's off-Broadway revival of "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" -- he reportedly put his fist through a wall during a rage concerning the temperature in the theater and had taken to throwing things -- costar Jan Maxwell abruptly left the production. She then filed legal papers alleging that Baldwin created "an unhealthy and oppressive situation onstage and off."
Yes, if you check the dictionary under boorish, you just might find Alec Baldwin's picture there, because the litany of episodes of his obnoxious behavior goes on and on - and on.
Sadly, Baldwin has a lot of company when it comes to stars whose off-camera exploits cross the line from standard fare Hollywood diva ways and hotheaded immaturity - to leave us feeling downright disturbed.
Welcome to Celebrity Disturbia, Where Stars You Wouldn't Want in Your Home Converge.
That group also includes Baldwin's ex-wife, Kim Basinger 1) for conduct that's got to be detrimental to her daughter in the all-too-public custody feud with Baldwin, and 2) for falling in love with and marrying Baldwin in the first place. Let's face it, that says a lot. And 3) her own temperamental absurdities -- what's the deal with her not allowing movie crew people and other mere mortals not to look at her? Hm.
It also includes Rosie O'Donnell, whose June departure from "The View" can't come a moment too soon for the many who find her TV presence analogous to a shot of diesel fumes in the face. O'Donnell has joined the conspiracy theory crowd with her opinion that World Trade Center Building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition, thereby eliminating Enron records sought by investigators - which, of course, indicates that the 9/11 attacks were staged. The rest of the time, Rosie plays self-appointed Vengeance God, sitting in snarling judgment of the rest of the world, calling Kelly Ripa "a homophobe," for instance, because she didn't want Clay Aiken to cover her mouth during an interview. She criticized Oprah Winfrey, calling her exploitative, because she interviewed the parents of Shawn Hornbeck -- too soon for Rosie's liking, after the teen had been found after four years of being held captive. And her feud with Donald Trump shows that it's possible to be rich and powerful and still act like a third grade schoolyard bully.
Ann Coulter. She's a hate-mongering shrew who feeds on negativity and discord regardless of who gets hurt, a black hole of media so desperate for attention she'll say anything, including: publicly accusing Princess Diana of being a bad mother for her romantic life not long after Diana's death in a car crash; telling New York Observer staffer George Gurley that she wished Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh had gone on to the New York Times building; and her remark - a typical Coulter crack -- when she answered a question about why she didn't comment on Presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards: "It turns out you have to go to rehab if you use the word faggot."
Mel Gibson lost favor with a healthy portion of the population last summer, with his anti-Semitic diatribe post-drunk driving arrest. But he's been scary for a long time, fraught with moments of barely-controlled rage, lashing out with F-word-laden outbursts in backstage press conferences - and, in March, at a Cal State Northridge post-presentation Q&A session about his "Apocalypto." Sure, the Central American Studies professor and the Mayan guy who were complaining about the movie might have gone overboard, but Gibson lost his cool in a way others would not have in the situation. With his sick penchant for bloodlust in his movies, Gibson is definitely in the ranks of the disturbing.
Snoop Dogg. Sure, there are other rap stars who could be on this list, but Snoop warrants particular attention because he was one of the first, the angriest, the most misogynistic ("I treat a bitch like Seven Up: I never have and I never will") - and while others have grown up, moved on and accomplished other things (Ice Cube's acting success, including the hit "Are We There Yet" movies, comes to mind) he remains married to his gun 'n' drug offender lifestyle.
Paris Hilton. Yes, the omnipresent Paris Hilton. For ushering in the era of the nightclubbing rich sex mannequin as celebrity. For saying that each era has its trademark blond - Marilyn Monroe in the 'fifties, Princess Diana in the 'eighties, Paris herself today. For being right.
Britney Spears. Yes, there are other downspiraling, pantyless, messed-up young female performers in the public eye - Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie, to name two - but they haven't shaved their own heads, don't have two baby boys at home, and don't have Kevin Federline as an ex-husband, all of which leave us feeling very disturbed.
Michael Richards. Not just for the incredibly insulting racial slurs he was caught on cell phone camera delivering from stage to African American hecklers last November. (Yep, people remember despite the apology tour he conducted afterwards.) Also for the off-putting comments and whining he's done off and on through the years - including a petty diatribe one year when he didn't win an Emmy for "Seinfeld."
Don Imus. It's not his recent firing, or the fact that smart money is indeed on Imus' eventual return to the airwaves with big money and lots of fanfare. It's that he's been hurling offensive slurs for years with impunity.
Of course there are many other names who dwell in Celebrity Disturbia. Michael Jackson, even though he's moved to Bahrain, is one for obvious reasons. Sadly, it seems the community is growing by the month.