Actor Alec Baldwin may be finding himself in very big trouble this morning. I mean, big trouble.
Baldwin is caught on TMZ.com on an audiotape recording of a scalding message he left for his 12-year-old daughter Ireland.
Even though it’s obvious that Ireland’s mother, Kim Basinger, leaked the tape to the TMZ Web site — either Basinger or her lawyers — it may not matter. Baldwin’s screamfest at his only child has already caused a family court judge in Los Angeles to suspend his visitation rights temporarily.
Baldwin and ex-wife Basinger have been locked in a vicious custody and visitation battle over Ireland since the couple divorced in 2002.
Baldwin has regularly accused Basinger of playing games with scheduling. It’s a sore point, since he lives in New York and she lives in California.
But Baldwin’s scathing comments to his daughter on the phone message may be indefensible. Listening to the tape, you actually think he’s leaving a message for Basinger; there is hatred in his voice. Then you realize it really is Ireland for whom he’s left the message. The worst thing he calls her: “a rude, thoughtless pig.”
That’s not all. “I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old or 11 years old, or a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the a-- who doesn't care about what you do,” Baldwin screams into the phone. He then warns Ireland that he’s coming to Los Angeles today, Friday, and will “straighten her out.”
Baldwin is going to have to do some fast spinning to get out of this situation, especially if the tape starts getting airplay. There will likely be little tolerance for this kind of behavior, especially toward a child — and his own child, at that.
It certainly is hard imagining telling one’s own kid how angry you are because they — the child — has “humiliated” you by missing a phone call.
More from the call: “Once again I’ve made an a-- of myself getting to a phone to make a phone call … I’m tired of playing this game with you. You have insulted me for the last time …You’ve made feel like sh-- and you’ve made feel like a fool over and over again … I’m going to straighten your a-- out … You are a rude, thoughtless little pig.”
It’s a sickening turn of events for Baldwin, who’s had a great year career-wise between his supporting work in “The Departed” and his awards for the comedy “30 Rock.”
But something tells me that with the latter, NBC is not going to be very supportive of what sounds like a very abusive, not just disciplinary, father.
Update: As Baldwin's angry words to his daughter were being broadcast around the world, the 49-year-old actor explained himself Friday on his Web site.
"Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child," he wrote.
"I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.) I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case.
"In such public cases, your opponents attempt to take a picture of you on your worst day and insist that this is who you are as a person," Baldwin wrote. "Outside the doors of divorce court, I have friends, I have respect from people I work with and I have a normal relationship with my daughter. All of that is threatened whenever one enters a court room."
Meanwhile, Baldwin's attorney, Vicki Greene, said she filed a court order Friday "to determine how the tape got leaked and to determine whether actions should be taken against Kim Basinger, or her attorneys, or Harvey Levin (who runs TMZ.com) and anybody else associated with the leaking of the tape and the violation of the court orders to keep the proceedings closed."
Greene told TV's "The Insider" that "anyone involved in this case should want to protect Ireland, so whatever happened was either intentional, reckless or negligent."
The matter is set for a hearing June 5, Greene said.
Basinger's attorney, Neal Hersh, weighed in the family saga Friday on TMZ.com.
"I am concerned that Mr. Baldwin's recent statement, wherein he attempts to shift responsibility to Kim and her lawyers for his issues with Ireland, shows just how out of touch he is with the reality and gravity of the situation," Hersh said.
Basinger's spokeswoman had no comment Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.