On September 29, new MSNBC host Alec Baldwin wrote a letter to the East Hampton Star complaining about the paparazzi. He specifically cited the fact that they were locals, and then called them “vermin.” There were also random references to “gypsy cabs” as well as Baldwin’s apparent bête noir, one Jason Gutterman. The letter ran over 500 words:
Dear Mr. Rattray,
To the list of things that seem to have changed the character of our area recently, such as land for sale at $3 million an acre and gypsy cabs bringing massive hordes of unwashed revelers to Indian Wells to clog the shoreline and leave behind overflowing mounds of beer cans, I would add the aptly named Jason Gutterman. At least that’s the name he gave me when I asked his name today on the streets of Amagansett.
Gutterman has been staked out in front of Mary’s Marvelous most weekends, beginning this summer, and has marauded up and down the village’s Main Street in search of photos of my wife and/or our newborn child. I am told he works somewhere in the vicinity. On more than one occasion, Gutterman has brought his son along with him, “on the job.” A young boy stands, oddly, to one side while Gutterman secrets himself behind a tree or parked car, clicking away, hoping to catch someone in mid-bite or otherwise behaving in a way that pretty much everyone else going in or out of Mary’s behaves.
When Gutterman is finished, he puts his equipment into a bag, and strolls right into Mary’s, gets in line with his son, and assumes the demeanor of any other neighbor seeking good coffee and a muffin.
Fifteen or 20 minutes of separating himself from every other person in the vicinity by seeking to casually invade the privacy of people out in public and attempting to live their lives in peace; by insisting that he has a job to do and that public figures are never, ever entitled to normal consideration, even in small-town East Hampton; by lying in wait, like kidnappers and home invaders do, then abruptly popping up to find the desired moment to take advantage of. Then walking into a place of business, standing 10 feet away from his “target,” acting as if nothing happened.
I have never seen this before.
There’s another guy out here. Stands in East Hampton Village, out in front of Ralph Lauren. Tall, middle-aged, slovenly, he has the unmistakable air of a grown man who still spends serious time on a couch watching “South Park” while his mother makes grilled-cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s tomato soup. I asked him once not to photograph my wife. He replied, “You people brought this out here. I’m just trying to make a buck off of it.” I never got his name, but I suppose Sewerman will do for the time being.
What has gone wrong with our society that this vermin has spawned in East Hampton? These are not New Yorkers that have slithered out here. They are home grown. They are locals. And they obviously have no idea about how to live in a community like ours. I hope that our local government will address this issue, which has nothing to do with freedom of the press and everything to do with criminal harassment, abuse, and authorizing the intimidation and stalking of one group in our society while protecting the basic rights of all others. That’s remarkably like a bill of attainder. And that’s unconstitutional.