Alec Baldwin was sued for defamation on Monday, according to People, after accusing the family of a slain marine killed in Afghanistan of partaking in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Following the story of a horrific bombing outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul last August, the 30 Rock actor reportedly wanted to help and honor the 13 U.S. service workers who lost their lives. The attack occurred just as the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan forced many to flee to the airport, where American cargo planes were waiting to lift them to safety.
One of the victims who was killed in Kabul was Rylee McCollum, 20, of Wyoming, who was survived by his pregnant wife, Jiennah Crayton, due to have their first child in just three weeks.
Sending the bereaved a $5,000 check after finding McCollum’s sister Roice on Instagram, Alec Baldwin told the family that the money was “tribute to a fallen soldier.”
Everything changed for the family after the new year rolled around, however. According to the lawsuit, Roice McCollum posted a photo on Instagram on New Year’s Day that was taken on January 6, 2021, the day of the insurrection attack on the Capitol. The photo showed her and her father smiling at the Washington Monument, allegedly attending a demonstration in support of former President Donald Trump.
Seeing the photo, Baldwin reportedly called the family insurrectionists and reached out to Roice by sending her direct messages on Instagram.
“Are you the same woman I sent the $ for your sister’s husband who was killed during the Afghanistan exit?” Alec Baldwin allegedly wrote. “When I sent the $ for your late brother, out of real respect for his service to this country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter.”
According to the lawsuit, Roice responded to the actor and told him that no one from her family attended the riot at the Capitol that day, and that her right to protest in a different part of Washington D.C. that day was legal. She also stated that she had already been interviewed and cleared by officials from the FBI.
“Your 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,” Alec Baldwin continued. “I reposted your photo. Good luck.”
The actor then reposted the photo to his 2.4 million followed and mentioned that she was involved in the Jan. 6 riot. His actions set off a chain reaction of hate messages, the family said, as angry commenters swarmed their Instagram accounts with death threats.
According to the New York Post, one comment read, “Get raped and die, worthless c—. Your brother got what he deserved,” while many others suggested that the actor should get his money back.
The lawsuit also alleged that Alec Baldwin did nothing to stop his followers from going on the attack, and that he instigated the hateful messages by reposting her photo and falsely claiming that they were involved in the Jan. 6 riot.
“Baldwin’s conduct was negligent and reckless as he should have known that making the allegations he did against Plaintiffs to his millions of followers would cause Plaintiffs harm,” the lawsuit read.
“Either he knew what would happen, and he wanted it to happen, or he just didn’t think about it,” the family’s lawyer, Dennis Postiglione, later stated. “I think it’s worth noting, too, that his social media following … is five times the population of your state.”
The lawsuit is seeking damages worth up to $25 million, claiming defamation, invasion of privacy, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Alec Baldwin has yet to comment on the McCollum’s family lawsuit. Earlier this week, he was forced to turn over his phone to authorities due to a separate lawsuit connected to the investigation into the Rust film set shooting.