Mere days after the New York Times published an article supporting the cancellation of a teen girl by a classmate over a racial slur, the publication ran a story defending Hilaria Baldwin, Alec Baldwin’s wife, after it was revealed that she faked being a Spaniard for years.
While the Times has preached against forms of cultural borrowing before, having recently published an article critiquing tiki bars as “racial inequity and cultural appropriation,” it graciously granted the yoga instructor a platform to express her belief that she did nothing wrong.
“There is not something I’m doing wrong, and I think there is a difference between hiding and creating a boundary,” Baldwin maintained in one of the first paragraphs of the article.
“She doesn’t understand why anyone would think she has portrayed herself as anything other than who she is: someone steeped in two cultures,” the article deduced. “Evidently, she said, ‘people don’t have the attention span for that kind of thing.’”
Instead of acknowledging that Baldwin’s attempts to fake an accent, to appear as an icon for the cover of a Spanish-language magazine, and to allegedly forget certain English words were ridiculous for someone born in Boston to American parents, the Times claimed that “millions of people, cooped up and tired and probably too online at the end of the year,” were “dogging” the celebrity. The article continued to justify Baldwin’s mistakes, propping up her excuses and calling out people who noted when her Spanish facade faltered as purporting “misconceptions.”
Baldwin is bilingual, the article argued, so she was just nervous when she asked someone for the English word for cucumber on live television. Her talent agency must have used poor reporting to complete her bio on its website, which claimed she was born in Spain. And how was she supposed to know that multiple publications had labeled her a Spaniard? She doesn’t read her own press.
Under accusations of cultural appropriation, the Times gave Baldwin a free pass, taking her word as truth. “She said she did not believe her story was one that bears any connection to cultural appropriation because, she said, as much as American culture has shaped her, so too has the culture of Spain: ‘Who is to say what you’re allowed to absorb and not absorb growing up?’” the article stated.
The article also granted Baldwin a victim card, painting her as an honest celeb trying to keep her privacy while strangers on the internet claw her down.
“You are entitled to your privacy, I am entitled to my privacy,” Baldwin said. “People say, ‘No, you’re not entitled to your privacy because you married a famous person and you have Instagram.’ Well, that’s not really true.”
“The things I have shared about myself are very clear,” she continued. “I was born in Boston. I spent time in Boston and in Spain. My family now lives in Spain. I moved to New York when I was 19 years old and I have lived here ever since. For me, I feel like I have spent 10 years sharing that story over and over again. And now it seems like it’s not enough.”