Alec Baldwin has been sued in federal court by the family of a U.S. Marine Corps member killed in an Afghanistan suicide bombing. The lawsuit alleges numerous causes of action related to comments the actor allegedly made about the deceased Marine’s family after learning that his sister was in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming on Monday, the 37-page filing accuses The Shadow actor and Rust actor and producer of defamation, invasion of privacy – false light and intrusion, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit seeks $25 million in damages over social media comments that equated all of the attendees at former president Donald Trump‘s “Stop the Steal” rally with those who stormed the U.S. Capitol Complex.
Specifically, the lawsuit notes, Baldwin took issue with Roice McCollum, the sister of slain Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, in an Instagram post after he donated $5,000 to the fallen soldier’s widow and newborn child as, in his words, “a tribute to a fallen soldier.”
“Are you the same woman that I sent the $ to for your sister’s husband who was killed during the Afghanistan exit?” Baldwin asked in a Jan. 3, 2022 comment on a photo posted by Roice McCollum documenting her attendance at the protest that preceded the pro-Trump riot.
The lawsuit says Roice provided Baldwin with “confirmation” in response. This allegedly prompted the famously mercurial and combative actor to private message the dead Marine’s sister. The lawsuit offers screenshots and transcribes some of those messages. A footnote alleges the exhibits and selections are “are representative of hundreds of similar, vile posts received” by the McCollums.
The following-back-and-forth is noted:
Baldwin: When I sent the $ for your late brother, out of real respect for his service to this country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter.
Roice: Protesting is perfectly legal in the country and I’ve already had my sit down with the FBI. Thanks, have a nice day!
Baldwin: I don’t think so. Your activities resulted in the unlawful destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, an assault on the certification of the presidential election. I reposted your photo. Good luck.
After that, the filing asserts (and exhibits show), Baldwin made a post of his own where he discussed the attack on the Capitol and derided claims that it was simply “a protest” as “bullshit.” In that post, Baldwin also noted the soldiers who died at the Kabul airport and then made comments that appeared to refer to Roice McCollum.
The relevant part of that post reads:
I did some research. I found, on IG, that this woman is the brother of one of the men who was killed. I offered to send her sister-inlaw some $ as a tribute to her late brother, his widow and their child.
Which I did. As a tribute to a fallen soldier.
Then I find this.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
According to the filing, Baldwin’s “post to his 2.4 million followers” identified Roice’s Instagram handle and resulted in an avalanche of “hostile, aggressive, hateful messages” in her inbox.
“Baldwin knew or should have known that his name-calling and accusations were false when he sent them,” the lawsuit says. “Roice had said as much in her private message to him. This did not matter to Baldwin. He had no information confirming that any Plaintiff had ‘participated in the insurrection’ or had attempted to overthrow the United States government. The only fact that Baldwin sought to confirm was that Roice was related to Lcpl. McCollum. With that confirmation, Baldwin felt entitled to use his massive social media following to shame and attack Roice and, by extension, Jiennah and Cheyenne, the rest of the McCollum family, and the name of a fallen Marine.”
One such message, the lawsuit notes, told Roice McCollum to “[g]et raped and die, worthless cunt,” followed by kiss emoji and said her “brother got what he deserved.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Roice McCollum made Baldwin aware of that particular comment–resulting in the actor following the person who sent it on Instagram. Baldwin went on to post that Roice McCollum “participated in the insurrection” and that she was an “insurrectionist,” which, according to the filing “fueled the firestorm of hatred that he started.”
Law&Crime reached out to a representative for Baldwin but no response was immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.
Read the full lawsuit below:
[image via Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic]
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