Alec Baldwin wants a court to prove he's not guilty of Halyna Hutchins's death
"He affects unselfishness, but is in reality fanatically, even maniacally, self-centered. ... He is childlike in his pursuit of pleasure, but shrewd and willful in his studied neglect of responsibility. His sensibilities are exquisitely tender, and yet he has a talent for causing pain. ... He professes universal tolerance and sweetness to all, though is willing to put his friends through shame, fear, and harm rather than see his own comfort threatened."
No, this quote does not refer to Alec Baldwin, apt though it may seem. It is drawn from an essay about Harold Skimpole, a character in Charles Dickens's Bleak House. Revisiting the novel, I was struck by the similarity between Harold Skimpole and Alec Baldwin.
Both want to rise above the grubbiness of being responsible for their own actions, and both are capable of brutal anger against those who refuse to enable them. The last the reader hears of Skimpole in Bleak House is his denunciation of John Jarndyce, a man who financially supported him and his family for years. Jarndyce incurred Skimpole's wrath by withdrawing that financial support after learning that Skimple had not only caused the death of an innocent child, but was completely unrepentant for his action.
I don't know if Alec Baldwin has ever read Bleak House or, if so, that he positively decided to model himself on Harold Skimpole. If not, his new lawsuit is a startling example of life imitating art. Baldwin has caused the death of an innocent person and is completely unrepentant. He is so unrepentant that he has filed legal papers stating that he is not legally culpable of Halyna Hutchins's death.
I am unclear whom the lawsuit is supposed to be against, but it certainly seems calculated to promote Baldwin's comfort level at the expense of Halyna's family. The lawsuit declares, "Hutchins described what she would like Baldwin to do with the placement of the gun. ... Hutchins ... directed Baldwin to hold the gun higher to a point where it was directed toward her." It was really Halyna's fault that the gun was pointed at her.
Image: Alec Baldwin (edited). YouTube screen grab.
The lawsuit also holds that Baldwin tried to get the cast and crew of Rust to finish the movie, claiming that "the success of Rust upon its completion and release ... would likely have equaled millions of dollars." Like Skimpole, the only thing that really matters now to Baldwin is getting more money.
Halyna's father and mother, Anatoly and Olga Androsovych, are trapped in Ukraine, yet even the anguish of trying to survive in a country daily ravaged by an invading army pales before their beloved daughter's death. Anatoly granted an interview to The Sun, saying:
I can't understand the behaviour of Alec ... why did he fire the shot during the preparations? The revolver is the type of gun which doesn't shoot before the trigger is pressed and Alec is partially guilty for causing that shot ... it's hard for me to understand how he cannot be held partly responsible for my daughter's death.
Halyna's widower, Matt, is carrying a heavy load. It would be hard enough for anyone to deal with the sudden loss of his spouse and the responsibility of raising a child alone. To have that child's grandparents trapped in a war zone must surely make things worse. Matt now must deal with Baldwin's lawsuit blaming Halyna for her own death, as well as Baldwin's charges that anyone filing a lawsuit against him to hold him responsible for shooting two people is only after money.
It's not likely that Matt will have a happy ending out of all this, but I hope that, like Jarndyce of Bleak House, he will win through to some peace with his family and friends around him. As for Alec Baldwin, I hope that, like Harold Skimpole, he disappears from public view down a rat hole of his own making.
Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a 21st-century black teenager who goes back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South.