The family of a US soldier who was killed in Afghanistan has filed a defamation lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin after an online spat between Baldwin and the soldier’s sister in which Baldwin called the woman an ‘insurrectionist.’
According to the lawsuit, Baldwin donated $5,000 to a GoFundMe drive for the family of the fallen officer, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, who was killed in the August bombing outside the Kabul airport during the chaotic US military evacuation.
Two weeks ago, Baldwin recognized the soldier’s sister, Roice McCollum, in an Instagram post along with a photo that depicted her in a Make America Great Again baseball hat, posing in front of the Washington Monument on January 6, 2020, the day of the Capitol riot.
When Baldwin confirmed the woman in the photo was the sister of Lance Cpl. McCollum, he privately messaged McCollum to express his regret at donating to her brother’s GoFundMe. “When I sent you the $ for your late brother, out of a real respect for his service to our country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter,” Baldwin said, according to the lawsuit.
When McCollum explained to Baldwin that she had never been inside the Capitol and had not been arrested, detained or charged with any crimes connected with January 6, he responded by reposting her photo to Instagram, prompting a flood of hateful messages being sent to McCollum.
When McCollum’s family notified Baldwin of the messages, he posted publicly in response. “There are hateful things toward you that are wrong,” the actor allegedly wrote in a screen-captured posting. “Irony was my point. The irony of sincerely wanting to honor your brother and the fact you are an insurrectionist.”
The lawsuit accuses Baldwin of “defamation by implication, negligence, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” It was filed on behalf of Roice McCollum, as well as his other sister, Grace McCollum, and the widow of Lance Cpl. McCollum, Jiennah McCollum.