Court Dismisses J-6 Defamation Lawsuit Against Alec Baldwin

( – A defamation lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin’s comments toward a woman, publicly labeling her an “insurrectionist” for protesting at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, has been dismissed by a court.

The controversy at the source of McCollum v. Baldwin was when Roice McCollum, a Wyoming woman, filed a defamation lawsuit against Baldwin for reposting a picture on social media that she had already posted of protestors at the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots.

McCollum is the sister of the late Rylee J. McCollum, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps who was killed in an airport attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

McCollum sued Baldwin on the basis that he defamed her by falsely labeling her an “insurrectionist” and “January 6 rioter,” which then resulted in her receiving many angry social media messages due to Baldwin’s massive online following.

However, much of the words exchanged between McCollum and Baldwin were done so by direct message and not in the public eye. Because of this, Judge Elgado Ramos rejected the argument that Baldwin’s actions were defamatory on the grounds that he did not submit such statements to a third party for members of the public to see.

While Baldwin did publicly call McCollum an insurrectionist, he only did so after she had already documented her participation as a protestor on Instagram, and had also voluntarily appeared on several different news websites afterward, designating her as a “limited public figure.” She also voluntarily engaged in private discussions with Baldwin.

McCollum also admitted that she had voluntarily posted the photo of her participation in the protest, as well as that she was, in fact, present at the protest that day.

Because of these variables, the court rejected the claim that Baldwin had made the comments with actual malice, or, in other words, the intention of harming McCollum’s reputation. The court also agreed that Baldwin merely posted what he believed to be true, as opposed to intentionally posting something that was false or misleading about a person or entity. The lawsuit was therefore dismissed on the grounds that, unless McCollum could adequately prove Baldwin’s “actual malice,” there is no valid claim to defamation.

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