June 19th, 2012

Alec Baldwin Attacks Newspaper Photographer (Update)

June 20, 2012: Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for National Press Photographers Association, has weighed in on the incident, publishing an “Open Letter to Alec Baldwin.” Details below.

Not that it’s news these days when a celebrity (or bodyguard of a celebrity) shoves, punches or tries to run over a photographer, but the Daily News has posted photos of Alec Baldwin apparently attacking Marcus Santos, one of the newspaper’s photographers.

Santos was photographing Baldwin as the actor left the New York City marriage license bureau with his fiancee, Hilaria Thomas, after they obtained a marriage license. According to the Daily News report, Santos said Baldwin told several photographers to step back, then began shoving and punching Santos. “One time, right on the chin,” Santos said.

The paper also reported that Baldwin later Tweeted that a photographer “almost hit me with his camera this morning.” According to a report on the WIS-TV web site, Baldwin also said that the paparazzi should be “waterboarded.”

*Update: Yesterday the NPPA.org blog posted “An Open Letter to Alec Baldwin,” written by NPPA attorney Mickey Osterreicher.   Osterreicher notes that “eyewitnesses” to the event report that photographers were not near Baldwin at the time of the “assault.” He states, “I object to your combative actions against photographers who were doing nothing more than waiting to take your photograph, an activity you’ve willingly participated in thousands of times, posing when you thought it was in your best interest.”

The letter goes on to say, “It is all too easy to denigrate working journalists by calling them “paparazzi,” but not all photographers deserve that demeaning title, just as all actors are not boors or bullies.”

The full text is available here: http://blogs.nppa.org/advocacy/2012/06/19/an-open-letter-to-alec-baldwin/