LOS ANGELES — Alec Baldwin’s new weekly MSNBC talk show was suspended for two episodes after the actor was videotaped using an anti-gay epithet against a photographer during a New York street encounter.
The cable channel didn’t specify the reason it yanked Friday night’s “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” from its schedule this week and next, but the decision came the day after the Thursday run-in.
In a statement on the MSNBC website, Baldwin wrote that he “did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have — and for that I am deeply sorry.”
He said his actions came as he tried to protect his family — presumably from the photographer — but were unacceptable and undermine “hard-fought rights that I vigorously support.”
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MSNBC declined further comment. Baldwin’s representative said in an email late Friday that the actor would decline to comment.
The incident came the week a Canadian actress was convicted in New York of stalking Baldwin with calls, emails and visits over a two-year period. Genevieve Sabourin was sentenced to six months in jail in addition to a month she’s already serving for her courtroom outbursts.
The situation stemmed from a confrontation on Thursday with a photographer trying to get pictures of Baldwin leaving his Manhattan apartment with his wife and baby. Video from the website TMZ caught the actor using at least one vulgarity.
Initially he denied using a gay slur. But after widespread criticism, he conceded in a Twitter message that he had used an offensive word. “I apologize and will retire it from my vocabulary,” he said.
This was not the first time Baldwin was accused of making homophobic comments. Last summer, he apologized after calling a male reporter a “toxic little queen” and threatening to beat him up.
In light of this week’s episode, numerous representatives of the gay community have spoken out against Baldwin, including the organization GLAAD. GLAAD said: “Mr. Baldwin can’t lend his support for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice.”
Baldwin’s career has included Oscar and Tony nominations as well as his Emmy-winning turn on “30 Rock.”
He’s also known for his temper. He was kicked off a plane in 2011 after refusing to stop playing a cellphone game, and he’s gotten into confrontations with news photographers.