The Hilaria Hoax

Forget Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who made headlines when it turned out she was just pretending to be black. She was a nobody. Now we have a real celebrity who has pulled pretty much the same stunt. Hilaria Baldwin, a New York yoga instructor who has frequently been in the public eye since she married actor Alec Baldwin in 2012, has consistently represented herself—and been represented by her husband—as Spanish. This, it now turns out, was a big fat lie.

And boy, was she ever committed to it! You think Daniel Day-Lewis immerses himself in a role? In TV appearances, Hilaria has consistently spoken English with a Spanish accent. Doing a cooking demo on NBC’s “Today Show”—gazpacho—she forgot, or pretended to forget, the English word “cucumber,” and the TV host had to supply it. A couple of minutes later, she “forgot” it again.

(As an American who’s lived in Norway for 20 years, I can testify that I sometimes momentarily forget the English word for something or other and use the Norwegian word instead. But I don’t do it again right after somebody has supplied the word for me. And I don’t speak my native tongue with a Norwegian accent.)

The Baldwins’ whole house of cards began tumbling down after Hilaria, responding on Instagram to a post by Amy Schumer at which she took offense, seemed to forget to put on her Spanish accent. Shortly thereafter, on December 21, somebody named “Leni Briscoe” tweeted: “You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person.”

In the days that followed, various social-media users posted evidence of Hilaria’s dissimulation. 

All this time, she’s claimed to have been born in Spain. In numerous interviews, including a podcast on which she appeared last April, she said she first came to the United States at age 19 to attend NYU. In fact, as has now been documented, and as she now admits, she was born in Boston and grew up in Weston, Massachusetts (median family income over $200,000). Her mother was a professor at Harvard Medical School. Her only connection with Spain is that the family summered there when she was a kid, and her parents now live there in retirement.

Her birth name is Hillary, not Hilaria. Hilarious. With Alec, she has five kids named Leonardo Ángel Charles, Carmen Gabriela, Rafael Thomas, Romeo Alejandro David, and Eduardo Pau Lucas. In short, this ruse was as elaborate as the “big con” in “The Sting.

Many people have expressed astonishment that Alec and Hilaria would commit themselves to such a massive pretense. But why should we be surprised? Alec and Hilaria are leading members of the showbiz Left—a group of people drenched in phoniness, permeated with phoniness, saturated with phoniness.

We’re talking about people who condemn the Second Amendment while being protected by armed guards. People who buy beachfront mansions in Malibu or the Hamptons or Palm Beach or Martha’s Vineyard, even though they profess to believe that those places will soon be underwater.

Those houses are behind walls and gates, many of them in communities that also are behind walls and gates. And the inhabitants sit there behind those walls and gates proclaiming the uselessness—and sheer evil—of a southern border wall.

Most of those houses are massive. Sprawling. Yet the inhabitants don’t hesitate to wag their fingers over the carbon footprints of ordinary peons. While supporting measures to curb air travel by their inferiors, they routinely take private jets.

Of course, like other phony showbiz lefties, Alec Baldwin and his wife have parroted the preposterous prevarications of critical race theory and intersectionality. Alas, if you’re a white, “cis male” heterosexual who pretends to buy into this stuff, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. By definition, you’re part of the oppressive privileged class, and should feel nothing but guilt and self-hatred.

And if you’re a white, “cis male” heterosexual who is named Alexander Rae Baldwin III and who is descended from a passenger on the Mayflower, and your wife is Hillary Hayward-Thomas, daughter of a professor at Harvard Medical School and also a descendant of pre-Revolutionary New England settlers—well, you’re both totally screwed.

Alec made clear his own white self-hatred on Sunday. Sharing on Twitter a video of a Los Angeles man who didn’t wear a mask in a store because he claimed he had a “health condition,” Baldwin commented: “White people . . . .”

What to do to avoid the stigma of intersectional privilege? Well, if you’re a natural phony, the answer is obvious: pose as something else. Pose, that is, as a member of a group that, according to your ridiculous ideology, is supposedly oppressed (when, of course, under the current cultural dispensation, that group, like all supposedly oppressed groups, is the very opposite of oppressed).

Hence the Hilaria hokum.

After her deception was discovered, Hilaria admitted on Instagram: “Yes, I am a white girl.” But she was always white. She never said she was nonwhite, only that she was Spanish. But in many a leftist mind, a Spanish person, however white, is nonwhite. Because such a mind makes no significant distinction between a rich, lily-white Madrileño and a swarthy Guatemalan peasant. They’re both Latinos—sorry, Latinx—and hence, by definition, nonwhite.

“Ethnically,” Hilaria said on Instagram, “I am a mix of many, many, many things.” Perhaps, but none of them is Spanish. “Culturally,” she went on, “I grew up with two cultures so it’s really as simple as that.” Needless to say, it’s one thing to be drawn to Spanish culture and another to assume a fake identity.  

What’s fascinating about this remarkable imposture is that Alec Baldwin must’ve known about it from the start—and played right along. This is a man who, famous both for playing Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” and for hating Trump with a hate beyond hate, has called the president “the biggest f—ing liar that ever lived” and “the most pathological liar in history.” When Trump was hospitalized briefly with COVID-19 in October, Baldwin questioned whether he really was ill. 

We now know that even as he was shooting these barbs at president, Baldwin himself was a party to a deception far beyond Trump’s imagining. How to understand the psychology behind this? Well, finding the answer starts with recognizing that lying is an integral part of leftism. The leftist mindset is not about truth but about power. 

If we’re going to inquire into the logic of Hilaria’s flimflam, we might just as well ask why, after the endlessly repeated leftist charges about alleged ties between Trump and Russia were proven to be wholesale fabrications, Baldwin, and countless others like him, were utterly unfazed, and instead of feeling the slightest remorse about repeating these false accusations simply  redoubled their own insistence that Trump himself was the liar. 

Next to that monumental mendacity, the Hilaria hoax is nothing.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the timing of the exposure of Hilaria Baldwin’s ruse. “Leni Briscoe” tweeted about Baldwin’s “grift” after Baldwin responded to Amy Schumer.

About Bruce Bawer

Bruce Bawer is the author of While Europe Slept, Surrender, and The Victims' Revolution. His novel The Alhambra was published in 2017.

Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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