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 on social media a photo she was taken by demonstrators at former President Donald Trump’s rally in January 2021 and took a picture of it political commentary.
“Reposting and then expressing a political opinion on a photograph that Roice (McCollum) himself has posted publicly cannot form the basis of a claim of willful infringement,” Baldwin’s attorneys argued Monday.
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.
After hearing about the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum of Wyoming and the expected birth of his daughter, Baldwin reached out to Roice McCollum via Instagram and donated $5,000 to the family.
In January, Baldwin saw that Roice McCollum had posted on Instagram a picture of protesters from former President Donald Trump’s rally at the Washington Monument, taken on Jan. 6, 2021.
Baldwin sent her a private message and asked if she organized the fundraiser. She confirmed she was the same woman and that she had attended the protest, which court documents said she was “completely legal.”
Baldwin told Roice McCollum he shared her photo with his 2.4 million Instagram followers and wrote, “Good luck,” according to the lawsuit.
Roice McCollum said she received hundreds of hateful messages, including one urging her to “get raped and die” and that her brother “got what he deserved,” according to the lawsuit, which is in Wyoming was filed.
The complaint, which also names Cheyenne McCollum and Rylee’s wife Jiennah McCollum as plaintiffs, said they were defamed after the online dispute. They’re asking for $25 million in damages.
Baldwin’s response lists several reasons why the suit 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 cannot be defamatory, and that the claims should be dismissed by Cheyenne and Jiennah because Baldwin made no statements about it.
Baldwin “was surprised by the irony that his tribute to a fallen Marine, a patriot, was coordinated by a person attending an event that represented, in Baldwin’s and many other opinions, an attack on the very heart of American democracy.” , his answer said.
“The real irony here is that Roice is suing Baldwin for expressing his widely supported opinion of January 6th, when Roice had recently written to him about her January 6th attendance — an event that fostered the false claim that the 2020 elections were stolen – represents the ‘freedom of protest’,” reads the reply.