The New Yorker just dropped its long-in-development profile of TMZ founder Harvey Levin, and it does not disappoint. Part biography (detailing Levin’s path from law professor to court reporter to gossip giant), part business history (telling the stories behind some of TMZ’s most famous posts, like the Ray Rice video, and their decision to sit on the video of a young Justin Bieber saying the N-word), part… other stuff (“The tip line also recorded a claim that a major pop star ‘wears a fake booty in her music videos’ and employs a ‘person who makes the fake butts’ “), the whole thing is a fascinating look at the man and his controversial website.
One of the running themes in the piece is people not wanting to speak on the record about Levin for fear of retribution. Some who did speak on the record seemed to sanitize their quotes a bit to err on the side of safety. This brings us to 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin, who went very much on the record with this very much unsanitized quote, which has to be one of the best in the long and storied history of The New Yorker.
Alec Baldwin, who has been the subject of several harsh TMZ stories — including one, from 2007, in which the site posted a voicemail recording of Baldwin calling his 11-year-old daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig”— told me, “There was a time when my greatest wish was to stab Harvey Levin with a rusty implement and watch his entrails go running down my forearm, in some Macbethian stance. I wanted him to die in my arms, while looking into my eyes, and I wanted to say to him, ‘Oh, Harvey, you thoughtless little pig.’ ” Baldwin added, “He is a festering boil on the anus of American media.”
If you want to add an extra layer to all of this, a little chocolate flourish on top of the cake and icing, pretend Alec Baldwin said all of this completely unprompted. Like his cellphone rang and he just launched into all of this as soon as he picked up.
“… a festering boil on the anus of American media. Who is this, by the way?”
“Uh, The New Yorker.”
“Excellent. Quote me.”