While Baldwin donated $5,000 to the family after learning of their loss, Baldwin later “defamed” the deceased Marine’s sister by outing her as a participant in the January 6th demonstrations.
The family members of a Marine killed in Afghanistan have filed a defamation lawsuit against Alec Baldwin, claiming the actor called them “insurrectionists” after learning about their potential involvement in the January 6 riots outside the United States Capitol.
According to NBC News, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum was among 13 servicepeople assisting Afghan refugees outside the Kabul Airport when they were killed in a suicide bomb attack.
Baldwin, says the lawsuit, donated $5,000 to McCollum’s wife after learning of the Marine’s death.
However, the McCollum family claims that Baldwin turned hostile after seeing a picture of the Marine’s sister—Roice McCollum—standing outside the Capitol in a “Make America Great Again Hat.”
Roice McCollum’s picture, says NBC News, was dated January 6 and showed the woman standing in front of the Washington Monument.
“Are you the same woman that I sent the $ to for your sister’s husband who was killed during the Afghanistan exit?” Baldwin commented.
After Roice confirmed that she was related to Rylee J. McCollum, Baldwin allegedly “erupted” in his private messages, accusing her of being an insurrectionist and betraying the mission her brother had died for.
“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 wrote.
Roice McCollum, notes NBC News, maintains that she never entered the Capitol during the riots; she was also interviewed by the FBI and cleared of any wrongdoing.
“She was never detained, arrested, accused of or charged with any crime,” states the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.
While McCollum tried to tell Baldwin that she did not participate in the actual attack on the Capitol, the actor was not satisfied with her explanation and decided to repost her photographs on his own social media.
According to the McCollum family’s lawsuit, the actor only kept Roice’s picture online for a day.
However, within minutes of its posting, Roice McCollum says she was flooded with “hundreds of hateful messages,” some of which read akin to death threats.
Baldwin later acknowledged the harassment in a post he addressed to McCollum.
“There are hateful things toward you that are wrong,” Baldwin wrote. “Irony was my point. The irony of sincerely wanting to honor your brother and the fact you are an insurrectionist.”
The lawsuit now accuses Baldwin of “defamation by implication, negligence, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
“The social media onslaught of hatred and bile that ensued was entirely foreseeable to Baldwin,” the lawsuit says, “and any reasonably careful person under similar or the same circumstances as Baldwin would have anticipated the mental anguish and suffering and the physical manifestation of that mental pain that would result in his conduct.”