There were three nailed-down certainties as to how Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria would respond to the announcement that he will face criminal charges for killing someone.
First, they would play the victims, as they have shamefully done ever since Alec Baldwin accidentally shot dead cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his movie Rust.
Second, they would cynically use their children as a protective PR shield at the same time as they demanded privacy for those same children.
Sure enough, last Friday, the morning after the bombshell news broke that her husband is to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, Hilaria emerged from their New York apartment in an attention-seeking sweatshirt with the word “EMPATHY” emblazoned across it.
It was also an attention-diverting sweatshirt designed to distract waiting media from seeing her husband who slipped away unnoticed.
Hilaria then did what she often does and lectured the reporters and photographers about invading her family’s privacy.
“On a human level,” she said, in her fake Spanish accent, “You guys know I’m not going to say anything to you. So please leave my family in peace. And let this all play out. OK? Let my kids come home and you stay away from them. Because they ask me, ‘Mommy, what are these people doing?’ And it’s a very hard thing as a mom, to try and explain. So please, go home.”
Hmmm. I wonder if the Baldwins’ seven children have other questions for her like, “Mommy, why do you and Daddy keep asking the media to protect our privacy when you two both constantly invade ours on social media to enhance your brands?”
I doubt it, because most of them aren’t old enough to understand just how often, and how cynically, the Baldwins use them as PR tools.
Hilaria’s Instagram account, followed by a million people, is almost exclusively devoted to photos and videos of her children that she insists she wants the media to leave alone.
And Alec’s first direct response since learning he could go to jail for shooting a co-worker was to post a photo on Sunday to his own Instagram account, followed by 2.5 million people, that showed Hilaria being hugged by one of their young sons, and the caption: “The old ‘let me give you a back rub’ ploy.”
After an immediate social media outcry over this bizarrely sexual “joke,” he later added the words: “Potato chips to follow.”
Ho bloody ho.
Imagine that being your public reaction to such serious news?
And imagine using your kids to promote yourself on social media right after your wife orders the media to leave those kids alone?
But then that’s the Baldwin way, isn’t it?
Hypocrisy and tone-deaf delusion follow them around like a buzzard on a bison’s backside.
From the start of this scandal, they have consistently tried to portray themselves as the real victims of a tragedy that took the life of a beautiful young woman, devastating her own family.
And despite Alec’s indignant insistence in endless statements and interviews that he bears absolutely no guilt or responsibility for what happened, the unarguable truth is that the person who shot and killed Halyna Hutchins was… Alec Baldwin.
Of course, I don’t think he did it deliberately.
But I do think he was woefully, inexcusably negligent both in not checking the gun was safe himself before he fired it, and, as a named producer of the film, failing to ensure safety on a set, which had already been identified by other concerned employees as a dangerous shambles.
Prosecutors in Santa Fe agree with me, which is why they’ve thrown the book at him and two other members of the Rust crew.
(The movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, like Baldwin, is to be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, and assistant director David Halls signed a plea agreement for negligent use of a deadly weapon.)
“I have determined that there is sufficient evidence,’ said New Mexico’s District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies. ‘On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Predictably, Alec Baldwin doesn’t think so.
His lawyer Luke Nikas branded the decision a ‘terrible miscarriage of justice.’
However, the real miscarriage of justice, given the enormity of the consequence, would have been for nobody to be held accountable for what happened to Halyna Hutchins.
And Baldwin only has himself to blame for this dramatic turn of events that now threatens to cost him his career and his liberty.
I’m sure his appallingly ill-judged victimhood PR tour backfired horribly, by actively encouraging prosecutors to go after him.
But no amount of spin or good acting can save him from accountability now.
He’s facing the cold hard reality of a courtroom, and if his trial goes the way I suspect it may go, the even colder, harder reality of a prison cell.
And the last words Alec Baldwin will hear as he’s sent down will be Hilaria saying, “Hasta la vista, baby.”