(AP) — Alec Baldwin is asking a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a Wyoming woman who said she received hateful social media messages after the actor shared a photo she took from former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally at the Washington Monument.
The lawsuit was filed in January by Roice McCollum, whose brother was killed by a suicide bomber at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2021.
Last year, Baldwin sent McCollum a $5,000 check to help the widow of her brother Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum of Jackson, who was among 13 U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing on Aug. 26 at the Kabul airport, according to the lawsuit.
On Jan. 3 of this year, the lawsuit says, the actor privately messaged Roice McCollum on Instagram soon after she posted an almost year-old photo of the Trump rally, asking if she was the same woman who’d taken his donation. The suit says McCollum confirmed she was at the protest and told Baldwin, “Protesting is perfectly legal.”
McCollum’s lawsuit says Baldwin responded by remarking that “her 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,” and told McCollum that he’d reposted the photo to his 2.4 million Instagram followers.
After Baldwin shared the photo of the Jan. 6 protest on social media, Roice McCollum got “hundreds upon hundreds of hateful messages,” including one telling her to “get raped and die” and that her brother “got what he deserved,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, first reported by the Casper Star-Tribune, alleges invasion of privacy, defamation, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks $25 million in damages.
His response argues he can’t be sued for sharing his political opinion.
On Oct. 21 last year, Baldwin was involved in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western film “Rust.” Her family is suing him, and the movie’s other producers, alleging their “callous” disregard in the face of safety complaints on the set led directly to her death.
At least four other lawsuits have been filed over the shooting. Baldwin, who was to star in the film, was pointing a gun at Hutchins inside a small church during setup for the filming of a scene when it went off, killing Hutchins and wounding the director, Joel Souza.
Late last month, Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, announced the pair are expecting their seventh child.