Alec Baldwin was the talk of Twitter on Thursday night after unleashing a torrent of 140-character invectives at a British tabloid reporter who accused the actor's wife of callously tweeting during the funeral of James Gandolfini.
I reported on Gandolfini’s funeral and was seated inside the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in an area immediately behind the late actor’s closest family and friends.
George Stark of the notoriously salacious Daily Mail claimed that Baldwin's wife, Hilaria, was wrapped up in social media during Thursday’s funeral.
“The pregnant yoga instructor’s social media feed was full of upbeat posts while the Sopranos star’s friends, family and costars were gripped with grief at a New York Catholic Church,” he wrote in a story with the typically provocative headline, “Alec Baldwin's pregnant wife Hilaria TWEETS about Rachael Ray and anniversary gifts during James Gandolfini's funeral.”
It was par for the course of a publication that seems to enjoy portraying female celebrities as vapid and/or lacking in common decency. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether Baldwin’s response -- he called Stark a “toxic little queen” and threatened to put a foot up his posterior except he’d probably “dig it too much” -- was at all justified. But Baldwin's claim that Hilaria only tweeted after leaving the service appears to hold up.
I noticed the Baldwins discreetly leaving via a side door shortly after the conclusion of the eulogies and before Communion, approximately 40 to 45 minutes into the service, which began at 10 a.m. Alec Baldwin was holding his wife’s hand, and neither appeared to have a phone. (Even the pictures that ran in the Daily Mail show Hilaria Baldwin entering the church without a phone or even a bag in hand.)
It’s also not hard to imagine why the pregnant Mrs. Baldwin was feeling faint, as she has claimed: There was no air conditioning in the crowded cathedral -- which is Episcopalian, not Catholic -- and despite a few strategically placed fans it was extremely warm.
The controversial tweets in question began at 11:47 a.m., New York time, or about an hour after the Baldwins left the service. So, for those of you following the Case of the Insensitive Tweets, the accused Ms. Hilaria Baldwin appears to be not guilty.
Her husband, though, should probably stay away from social media -- funeral or not.
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