EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin Sued by Fallen Marine Family for $25 million
Rylee McCollum's widow and sisters targeted by Baldwin's millions of Instagram fans
The widow and sisters of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum are suing actor Alec Baldwin for $25 million for the consequences of his actions on Instagram earlier this month. The McCollums accuse Baldwin of using the power of his fame and influence to harm them because of their conservative political views.
I obtained a copy of the complaint as filed. It is uploaded at the bottom to read along with the exhibits.
Marine Lance Corporal McCollum was one of 13 U.S. service members killed by an ISIS suicide bomber at Kabul Airport on Aug. 26. His wife Jiennah “Gigi” McCollum gave birth to their daughter three weeks later.
Baldwin shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on his movie set in October. The Santa Fe Sheriff is investigating. The latest below:
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The McCollum family lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, where they live. They are asking for a jury trial. Attorneys Dennis Postiglione and Joseph Casas represent the family.
The lawsuit alleges Baldwin deliberately drove his liberal followers to attack the Gold Star Family because they are, in his words, “insurrectionists.”
“Baldwin knew exactly what he was doing when he made it public, and he did it anyway,” Gigi said in an interview. “He holds himself on a very high pedestal and believes he can get away with anything. I just want him to know he can’t get away with tearing people down.”
Gigi and her baby daughter, Levi Rylee Rose McCollum, are moving from Camp Pendelton to Wyoming to be close to Rylee’s sisters, Cheyenne and Roice.
“No matter how tragic a thing we went through, we now have a way to influence people. And we can do that for good, instead of what Alec Baldwin does,” Gigi said. “He’s just a terrible person.”
“Baldwin is very conscious of what his celebrity will do, and he used all of his influence to attack a grieving family,” Attorney Dennis Postiglione told me. “What he did to satisfy his ego created a nightmare for them.”
The lawsuit says that:
ALEC BALDWIN is an actor and political activist with a history of verbal threats and combative, confrontational behavior with many individuals, including members of his own family.
As detailed below, Defendant’s publication of false allegations against PLAINTIFFS to his 2.4 million Instagram followers constitutes, at minimum, an egregious violation of Plaintiffs’ right to privacy by false light and intrusion upon seclusion, defamation, defamation per se, defamation by implication, negligence, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The claim says the family has suffered immensely as a consequence of Baldwin’s public attacks:
Instead of being able to focus on grieving LCPL McCollum’s death and raising his newborn baby, Plaintiffs and their family are now fearful for their lives.
Plaintiffs have indeed suffered hate, shame, ridicule, threats, and live in fear for their lives. Plaintiffs have been confronted by strangers in public places such as grocery stores and parking lots by people accusing them of being “insurrectionists.” They continue to receive threats via social media. Their sense of security and anonymity have been violated.
Moreover, Plaintiffs have been dragged into these awful circumstances during the worst time of their lives; while grieving the loss of LCPL McCollum. Plaintiffs suffer and continue to struggle with the overwhelming grief caused by the murder of LCPL McCollum and Baldwin’s selfish actions have exacerbated and prolonged that pain in a very public, extremely traumatic way.
It started on Jan. 3 when Baldwin commented on 22-year-old Roice’s Instagram post (photo below.)
Are you the same woman that I sent the $ to for your sister’s husband who was killed during the Afghanistan exit?
Even though he got the family relationships wrong, I confirmed that Baldwin sent a check for $5,000 to Gigi. She said she was “shocked” when Baldwin turned on them out of the blue a few months later.
The photos Roice posted were labeled “throwback” and timed to the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 “Make America Great Again” rally in Washington. Roice traveled to D.C. for the rally. She did not participate in the riot or enter the Capitol. She was interviewed by the FBI and cleared of any wrongdoing. Roice has written this on her public account.
After Baldwin commented publicly on Roice’s post, he sent her a private message through Instagram (below).
Roice responded to him: “Protesting is perfectly legal in the country and I’ve already had my sit down with the FBI. Thanks, have a nice day!”
Baldwin disregarded what Roice said about not rioting or breaking any laws. He wrote back this:
Baldwin “reposted” the photos from Roice’s account with 1,496 followers to his that has 2.4 million followers. The young woman in the MAGA hat is unknown. Look at the caption Baldwin wrote on Roice’s post below:
Side note: Although Baldwin continually refers to Marine McCollum as a “fallen soldier.” Does he not know the difference in the service branches or is he being flippant?
A few hours later, Baldwin changed the caption with Roice’s photo to rail against all Republicans:
Instagram has strict policies of bullying and harassment. The lawsuit says:
Baldwin’s use of the words, “I will take this down tomorrow,” in his initial post show that Baldwin is aware that his post would violate Instagram’s terms of service; however, he wanted that post up as long as possible.
Within hours of the post, according to the court papers, all three McCollum women were “receiving hateful messages and even death threats from Baldwin’s followers who had seen the posts.”
Baldwin conflated the family members so that Gigi was falsely accused of being in D.C. on Jan. 6. That is why the family claims in the lawsuit that:
Baldwin’s irresponsible and reckless comments clearly placed JIENNAH in his followers’ paths. Baldwin lit the match and blew on the fire … Baldwin cannot subsequently disclaim responsibility for the conflagration that ensued.
Cheyenne tried to defend Gigi online and got responses like this one:
Now answer the question: if you found out that the money you donated went to a mother and child whose husband was part of ISIS and that now widowed mother and their family stand with ISIS you wouldn’t feel right to donate to them?
Roice told me in an interview that she got hundreds of nasty and hostile messages from Baldwin’s followers. She said she’s concerned because the family’s home address is public.
The court document adds that Baldwin “continued to engage his followers” and, in doing so, “he fueled the firestorm of hatred that he started.” From the complaint:
Baldwin contiued to “chime in on the increasingly hostile feed saying that Roice “participated in the insurrection” and that she was an “insurrectionist.”
The family points to Baldwin’s continued engagement as the hostilities worsened and turned the focus at McCollum’s widow.
BALDWIN: @exd**** but I didn’t say that. I gratefully supported the gofundme campaign while simultaneously not knowing the woman I approached [JIENNAH MCOLLUM] is an insurrectionist. I think that’s…remarkable.
The women believe Baldwin could have stopped the attacks on them but “did nothing to remedy what he had started.” The complaint says:
These messages included the vilest allegations accusing them of “white supremacy,” of dishonoring LCPL McCollum’s legacy, equating them with ISIS, calling them traitors, calling them Nazis, telling them that their brother died in vain, and imploring Baldwin to “get a refund” of the money he “anonymously” donated to Jiennah and her daughter, Levi.
The McCollums say in the lawsuit that they want to be fully compensated for their damages and “punish, deter, and teach Baldwin a lesson that he frankly should have learned years ago.” They will ask a Wyoming jury to award them $10 million in actual and $15 million in punitive damages.
Gigi told me of her husband who was killed while helping Afghans escape the Taliban before the U.S. withdrawal. “Rylee was the type of person to always root for the underdog— anyone who couldn’t help themselves. He would drop everything to help someone if he could,” she said.
“That’s why this whole situation makes me mad,” said Gigi. “Alec Baldwin uses his power and influence to hurt people, instead of helping them. I just want him to know he cant get away with it. People will fight back.”
The GoFundMe for Gigi and Levi is here: “Rest Easy USMC Rylee McCollum”