Grocery chain drops Alec Baldwin ads after airline fuss
First, he got tossed off a plane. Now, Alec Baldwin has been tossed off the air after his airplane incident apparently upset shoppers at a New York supermarket chain, Wegmans Food Markets, which had used the actor as a spokesman.
One Wegmans shopper who might be unhappy with the decision is Baldwin's mother, who lives in upstate New York where Wegmans is based. She's a loyal Wegmans customer, and when her son mentioned this during an appearance on David Letterman's show, Wegmans invited Baldwin to sing its praises in some TV ads.
Those ads disappeared after his Dec. 6 airplane incident, in which Baldwin failed to turn off his cellphone as an American Airlines flight prepared to leave Los Angeles for New York. “We had perhaps a couple of dozen complaints, and we take complaints from our customers seriously,” Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale said, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Natale said the ads had been filmed and used over the 2010 holiday season and were being featured in the 2011 season until the complaints began. There are no plans to air them in 2012, she said. “We enjoyed working with Mr. Baldwin, but under the circumstances we thought it best to discontinue the ads,” Natale said.
The reaction to the news on DemocratAndChronicle.com ranged from outrage at Wegmans to satisfaction that Baldwin no longer would pop up on TV screens walking down Wegmans aisles. "Hooray for Wegmans dropping this loser," wrote one reader. Another called it a "dumb" move to lose the high-profile actor as a spokesman. "So if I call Wegman's and complain about their prices do you think they will lower them?" he wrote.
On the plus side, this gives Baldwin more time to ponder his political career, should he decide to revive his idea of running for New York City mayor in 2013. Baldwin had considered a run but said last month that he had lost his appetite for it.
For the record 10:11 a.m. Jan. 4: An earlier version of this post referred to DemocratAndRepublican.com rather than DemocratAndChronicle.com.
-- Tina Susman in New York
Photo: Alec Baldwin in 2004. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times