Alec Baldwin hit with $25M lawsuit for defaming sister of US marine killed in Afghanistan
The family members of a slain US Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum are suing the actor Alec Baldwin, with $25 million defamation case alleging the actor has exposed them to social media hatred. The Marine's family claimed that Baldwin called one of the marine's sisters as an “insurrectionist” for attending the Capitol rally on January 6, 2021.
According to the lawsuit filed in US District Court in Cheyenne, the slain marine's sister, identified as Roice McCollum, protested peacefully and legally and was not among those who stormed the US Capitol that day and, after being interviewed by the FBI, “was never detained, arrested, accused of or charged with any crime."
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It was mentioned in the lawsuit that Baldwin sent McCollum a $5,000 check last year to help the widow of her Marine brother, who was among 13 US. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing August 26 at the Kabul airport. On January 3, 2022 the actor privately messaged Roice McCollum on Instagram soon after she posted an old photo of the Trump rally, asking if she was the same woman who'd taken his donation.
McCollum confirmed she was at the protest and told Baldwin, “Protesting is perfectly legal." 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, as per the suit.
After Baldwin shared the photo of the January 6 protest on social media, 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.
In a post under his Instagram account, Baldwin called that message “abhorrent,” and told McCollum, “There are hateful things posted toward you that are wrong,” according to screenshots filed in the case. The lawsuit says Baldwin didn't do anything to remedy the situation and by sharing the photo, the actor “lit the match and blew on the fire,” resulting in the hateful messages and death threats not only against McCollum but also against McCollum's other sister, Cheyenne McCollum and Rylee's widow, Jiennah McCollum, it says.
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. Jiennah McCollum gave birth to her late husband's daughter in September, 2021. Online fundraisers have raised around $1 million for the widow and child.
The lawsuit comes when Baldwin is already involved in an ongoing investigation into the death of a cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins and the wounding of a director, Joel Souza after a prop gun, the actor was holding on a movie set went off during a rehearsal.