NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Alec Baldwin claims he was defending himself when he “pushed” a photographer, but denied he punched him on a busy street Tuesday in lower Manhattan.
Appearing on “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose’s PBS program Tuesday night, Baldwin said the photographer was the aggressor and that he didn’t hit anyone.
1010 WINS Juliet Papa reports
“The guy – there was a person in front of me and he was blocking him. And the guy lunged and almost hit me in the teeth with the lens of the camera,” Baldwin said. “So I just pushed the guy away. But of course they all make it like I – my favorite line was from (the movie) ‘John Malkovich’ – ‘(The paparazzi) all screamed like they’re political prisoners,’ he said.”
The bizarre altercation between Baldwin and Daily News photographer Marcus Santos was sparked Tuesday as the “30 Rock” star and his fiancee, Hilaria Thomas, were leaving the Manhattan Marriage License Bureau.
Baldwin posted on Twitter Tuesday: “A ‘photographer’ almost hit me in the face with his camera this morning” and also tweeted an anti-gay insult aimed at a Daily News official.
He also said paparazzi should be “waterboarded.”
But Santos claimed Baldwin shouted “step back” and then pushed and punched him.
“I saw it, they were far from him,” said witness Goran Veljic. “Take pictures and move back. They didn’t touch him.”
Baldwin’s publicist quickly put out a statement Tuesday about the incident:
“As Alec and his fiancée were leaving City Hall, a ‘civilian’ walking in front of Alec positioned himself to obstruct the view of a photographer aggressively trying to shoot the couple. The photographer was clearly frustrated, pushed past the bystander and assaulted Alec with his camera. There were no punches thrown, and any subsequent physical contact was simply Alec protecting himself.”
Baldwin skipped out on a planned red carpet event later in the evening and reporters were ushered out before Baldwin arrived for his appearance at the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball.
Larry King attended the same event.
“He’s always had a problem with photographers,” King said.
Baldwin told Rose that there is a time and place for photography, but not every where all the time.
“We make ourselves available as an obligation per our contract to our employers to represent the product and help to sell the product. And then when I walk out the door, that’s over,” he said. “When the guy jumps out of the bushes with a camera and tries to take a picture of my kid, they want to say to you, ‘Well, here’s another appointment you have with the press.’”
Baldwin is expected to walk the red carpet at Wednesday night’s premiere of the new Woody Allen movie “To Rome with Love.”
Santos has filed a complaint with the police.
The NYPD said it is investigating the incident.
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