Since Alec Baldwin’s fatal shoot of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October, his influential wife Hilaria Baldwin has attempted to position herself as a mother-bear cross against journalists and photographers who she says have relentlessly pursued her family, invading the privacy of her young children and making them cry.
But at the same time, the self-proclaimed parenting expert, known for her love of media attention, continues to post multiple images almost daily of their six children, ages 1-8. These Instagram posts include potentially private content about their family’s home. life in the midst of her husband’s crisis on set on set, like images of her children playing and enjoying Christmas, but also acting and appearing sad or distressed.
The wife of the veteran film and television star has reason to expect her posts to be picked up by gossip and entertainment sites. Last month, she allowed the Daily Mail to release photos of her 6-year-old son, with a headline referring to his “parental struggles” because the boy continued to use profanity. The tabloid also posted the “full” video, made available by Hilaria via Instagram Story, of the little boy hesitantly reading a note of apology.
This week Hilaria Baldwin, 37, announced that the same boy and his brother had a fight. With laughing emojis, she joked about her son “diapering him” in a new apology note, showing how wet the paper was with her tears, as her son called himself “an idiot. “and wrote” I don’t feel special at all. “
Last week, two media outlets criticized Alec Baldwin’s wife for being “obsessed” with social media and for having “shared too much” information about her children to attract attention. Eric Schiffer, a Los Angeles-based public relations and crisis management expert, agreed that the former yoga teacher “used her children as props.” Indeed, you could say that she has long since turned her children into star performers in her Instagram version of the Baldwin family’s reality show.
In this show, Hilaria and Alec Baldwin appear to seek sympathy with an emphasis on their role as harassed but devoted parents, trying to keep their lives normal in the midst of horrific tragedy. But Schiffer told this news agency that such a message comes across as “narcissistic” and “callous”, given that Hutchins is dead and his 9-year-old son has lost his mother.
Evan Nierman, founder of crisis management and public relations firm Red Banyan, also noted that Hilaria Baldwin has “a constraint” to continue publishing.
“It’s his oxygen,” Nierman said in an interview. “Just as her husband was involved in a shooting that resulted in someone’s death, she appears to be living and dying depending on how people react to her messages.” Nierman added that Baldwin cannot realistically expect reporters to back down if she continues to “wave a red flag” for attention.
#hilariabaldwin why can’t you stay in the car with your crying children ??? Do you have to insert yourself constantly or don’t trust #alecbaldwin speak for himself? Take care of the kids for a hell of a change !! Where are Diego and Antonio ?? https://t.co/rJtdyDXjxI @MailOnline
– Time4Me2Fly (@smallerpepino) October 30, 2021
Obsessed or not, the way Hilaria Baldwin presents her children on Instagram responds to broader concerns about children’s online safety and “sharing” – when parents post private information about their children on the Internet. In academia, law and technology, there has been an increasing emphasis on the need to protect children’s autonomy and privacy online and to maintain the health of the parent-child relationship.
The video of Hilaria Baldwin’s son reading her apology note alone raises a number of pressing questions: Did he give his consent? Can a 6 year old even give consent? How can the boy feel when he’s in middle school or high school and his friends stumble upon the video, in which his mother arguably shames him for the benefit of his nearly one million followers?
Without commenting directly on Hilaria Baldwin’s post, Devorah Heitner, a media, technology and society author and founder of the Raising Digital Natives website, said it had become a worrying trend for parents of post videos of their children acting or having temper tantrums. Heitner said: “If you were breaking down and crying, would you want that on the internet?”
Schiffer added that Hilaria may have posted the video of her son’s apology to show that she was keeping her children under control and acting as a “moral compass for adults” while her husband was subjected to an apology. criminal investigation. Of course, critics of Hilaria would say that she lost all moral authority a year ago when, born and raised in Boston, was exposed to be an “identity thing” that claimed to be “halfway. Spanish “to build her brand as a glamorous European. immigrant.
Either way, publicizing one of her children’s embarrassing moments is nothing new to Hilaria Baldwin and predates Hutchins death. As reporter Jo Piazza wrote last year in the New York Post, Baldwin is a “marketing and advertising” genius who has built a lucrative career with “overtly denominational” Instagram posts about his pregnancies and the being the mother of several children.
Big brands probably paid her generously every time she tagged them with pictures showing her children using their products, wearing their clothes, or playing with their toys. She leveraged her fame on Instagram to launch a popular parenting podcast, “Mom Brain,” and even appear as a “half-Spanish” “wellness expert” on healthy eating at the United Nations.
The Spanish heritage scandal of Hilaria, however, put an end to “Mom Brain” and its partnerships with many brands. But she continued to share revealing photos of herself exercising in her underwear, breastfeeding – sometimes two infants at a time – and pumping milk, as well as images of her children playing, needing to change their breasts. diapers or having temper tantrums. She apparently thinks these posts help her come across as a practical, genuine, and approachable mother to her fans.
But while Hilaria accused a paparazzi last week of using long-lens cameras to photograph her children in their underwear, she herself posted several photos in 2020 of her sons in their underwear, explaining that ‘they are “obsessed with underwear”. She also shared photos of her children in the bath or naked.
In this way, Baldwin broke a basic Internet safety rule for families. Mothers and fathers have long been advised against posting partially or completely nude photos of their children, even ones that appear cute and innocent, as these images could fall into the hands of child pornographers and predators. Leah Plunkett, a law professor at the University of New Hampshire and author of the book “Sharentood,” added that it is also important to teach children about bodily autonomy and limits.
“Sharing” is a tricky issue in other ways, starting with the idea that parents have a fundamental right to control the custody of their children and to choose what to post about them online. Plunkett said many parents have good intentions when they share photos online, usually for the benefit of friends and family. “For most parents this tends to come from a good place,” she said.
But influencers like Hilaria Baldwin, who engage in what Plunkett calls “commercial sharing,” can put additional pressure on children. Without commenting specifically on Baldwin, Plunkett said these children have to go about their daily lives expecting to be posed or saved. They basically have to act out “versions of themselves” for audiences of thousands, if not millions, of foreigners.
In the process, children may be deprived of private time and space to play, mess around, and make mistakes. Plunkett said playing is necessary for children’s growth and for achieving “agency and independence.” These kids are also fundamentally put to work by their parents, Piazza added in her “Under the Influence” podcast of the mom influencer industry. Additionally, Piazza describes how these children, like adults on social media, can become targets of criticism and bullying regarding their appearance, well-being and behavior. It has happened with the Baldwin children before.
Plunkett said it is too early to know whether the children of influencers will grow up feeling exploited or in emotional and psychological difficulty. This is because the billion dollar influencer industry is so new.
However, Hollywood does offer many uplifting tales of deeply troubled child stars who grew up in the limelight – from Judy Garland to Lindsay Lohan. But these days, even young movie and TV stars have legal protections around working hours and financial compensation, Plunkett said. These protections are not yet available to the kids of influencers – again because the industry is so new.
Several months ago, Hilaria Baldwin happily announced that her 8-year-old daughter had asked to be photographed, as if to justify the girl’s regular participation in her Instagram posts. Hilaria also tends to say that her children insist that she post pictures of them. That may be true, but experts say kids don’t usually understand the implications of having an online presence until they’re older.
Either way, Hilaria or Alec Baldwin is unlikely to stop posting on social media, especially if both continue to feel aggrieved by media criticism in the wake of Hutchins’ death. But Heitner strongly urges everyone to get their kids’ permission before posting their photos online, while Plunkett has offered this basic guideline: don’t share anything about your child that your teen wouldn’t want your parents to share. about you.