Keeping Kids Out Of The Fight

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - May 16, 2007
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“This is only about the well being of the child, and nothing else.” - Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Maren Nelson

Let me make this perfectly clear. I do not condone or excuse the ugly and violent remarks made by Alec Baldwin to his daughter Ireland.

Anyone who has actually heard his flaming rant left on voicemail for 11-year-old Ireland could not excuse the words or deny the explosive temper behind them. And if anyone read my May 2 column and misunderstood my position - I would like to reassure you on that point. He was scary. He was absolutely wrong.

Carol Lee, executive director of the Hawaii State Coalition on Domestic Violence, points out - and I agree - that this probably was not an isolated incident on Baldwin’s part. In an e-mail she writes, “Those who work in domestic violence know that part of an abuser’s “M.O.” is to blame the victim for his violence and accuse her of turning his children against him. Children react to violence in their homes in a variety of ways, including becoming afraid of the abusive parent and choosing not to have contact with that parent.”

And if the fury in that rant is an indication, who could blame a child for being afraid? That’s apparently what the judge felt in the custody hearing that took place following the infamous diatribe. Although the judge banned reporters from the courtroom, we can surmise Baldwin lost, because Basinger’s lawyer said his client was “very, very pleased with the judge’s thoughtful decision and fully support what she did here today.”

Baldwin, incidentally, did not show up at the hearing. I found it odd that his lawyer claimed he wanted to avoid publicity, especially since Baldwin has been all over the talk shows in a damage-control media blitz.

Problem is, while he apologized over and over again, he also continued the broadside of blame against his former wife. His attack, he says, was actually aimed at Basinger. It was all her fault. She drove him to it.

Real cool, Alec. Way to take responsibility for your actions.

But - there is still the matter of who leaked that tape. Basinger has denied doing it and there will be a hearing to sort it out.

I still say that whoever did it, for whatever reason, is also guilty of abuse. The damage may not be physical, but the emotional scars will last a lifetime. The child has been horribly hurt by that reprehensible and selfish act.

If adults want to fight like hell and make their battle public, fine. It’s their choice to let the world know what’s going on between them. But once a child is involved the rules have to change. That child’s welfare should be put above all other considerations - even, and especially, who’s right and who’s wrong. The only “right” is what’s best for the child.

Commissioner Nelson, in ordering the lawyers not to talk about the case, noted that the media frenzy has been “emotionally traumatic” for Ireland.

You think?

So while there were smiles in one camp and silence from the other, there was no winner in this ugly episode. Only one 11-year-old girl who deserves a heckuva lot better.

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