Alec Baldwin has a long complicated history with photographers, especially those paparazzi who lurk around his apartment in Manhattan. But the former 30 Rock star is finding that there is no place safe from the shutterbugs, not even in his bucolic refuge of Amagansett on the eastern tip of Long Island, where he’s kept a home for more than 20 years. In a recent letter to the editor of the East Hampton Star, Baldwin complained that the area isn’t what it used to be, in part because of a new breed of home-grown paparazzi that have sprouted up to document and monetize the presence of celebrities. One “has marauded up and down the village’s Main Street in search of photos of my wife and/or our newborn child,” Baldwin wrote. He “secrets himself behind a tree or parked car, clicking away, hoping to catch someone in mid-bite or otherwise behaving in a way that pretty much everyone else going in or out of Mary’s Marvelous behaves.”
Baldwin seems most offended by the photographers’ gall in violating the personal privacy of town citizens and then turning around and behaving as if the neighborly bond is intact. “When [the photographer] is finished, he puts his equipment into a bag, and strolls right into Mary’s, gets in line with his son, and assumes the demeanor of any other neighbor seeking good coffee and a muffin,” he wrote. “I have never seen this before.”
The actor goes on to call such abuse “unconstitutional” and urged a local crackdown on “intimidation and stalking.” “What has gone wrong with our society that this vermin has spawned in East Hampton?” he asked. “These are not New Yorkers that have slithered out here. They are home grown. They are locals. And they obviously have no idea about how to live in a community like ours.”
It remains to be seen whether the town responds to protect the many celebrities who also spend time in the tony Long Island hamlet. Or if the letter will just be a siren song for more photographers looking to make a buck.