Alec Baldwin is asking a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by a Wyoming woman who said she received hate messages on social media after the actor shared on social media a photo she posted of protesters at former President Donald Trump’s rally in January 2021 and made a political comment.
“Reposting a photo that Roice (McCollum) herself posted publicly and then expressing a political opinion about it cannot form the basis of a claim of intentional infliction,” Baldwin’s attorneys argued Monday.
The lawsuit was filed in January by Roice McCollum whose brother was killed by a suicide bomber at Kabul airport in Afghanistan in August 2021.
After learning of the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum from Wyoming, and the expected birth of her daughter, Baldwin reached out to Roice McCollum via Instagram and donated $5,000 to the family.
In January, Baldwin saw that Roice McCollum posted on Instagram a photo of protesters from former President Donald Trump’s rally at the Washington Monument taken on January 6, 2021.
Baldwin privately messaged her asking if she was the one who organized the fundraiser. She confirmed she was the same woman and participated in the protest which she called “perfectly legal”, according to court documents.
Baldwin told Roice McCollum he shared his photo with his 2.4 million Instagram followers and wrote, “Good luck,” according to the lawsuit.
Roice McCollum said he received hundreds of hateful messages, including one telling him to ‘get raped and die’, and that his brother ‘got what he deserved’, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Wyoming.
The suit, which also names Cheyenne McCollum and Rylee’s wife, Jiennah McCollum, as plaintiffs, said they were defamed as a result of the online dispute. They are claiming $25 million in damages.
Baldwin’s response lists several reasons why the lawsuit should be dismissed, including arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction over Baldwin because he does not live in Wyoming, that private communications between him and Roice Baldwin do not cannot be defamatory and that Cheyenne and Jiennah’s claims should be dismissed because Baldwin made no statement about them.
Baldwin “was struck by the irony that his tribute to a fallen Marine, a patriot, was coordinated by an individual who participated in an event which – in the opinion of Baldwin and many others – was an attack on the heart of American democracy,” his response said.
“The real irony here is that Roice is suing Baldwin for expressing his widely supported opinion on January 6, when Roice had written to him moments before about his participation in January 6 – an event that promoted the false claim that the elections of 2020 were stolen – constitutes ‘freedom of protest’,” the response said.