It’s been a long, hard year, but apparently the universe is looking out for us in some way, because over the weekend 2020 gave us one last celebrity scandal to sink our teeth into. I am of course talking about Hilaria Baldwin, and the myriad questions swirling about her heritage, her background, and more than anything, her accent.
The current drama can be traced back to last week, when Amy Schumer reshared one of Hilaria Baldwin’s photos with a caption that she didn’t appreciate. The post has since been deleted, but in response, Hilaria posted a video in which she spoke with a crystal clear American accent. With no additional context, this would seem like a total non-issue, but long-time followers of Hilaria noted that this speaking voice didn’t match up with the Spanish accent she had in the past. Twitter user @lenibriscoe began a Twitter thread about Hilaria’s “decade long grift to impersonate a Spanish person,” and just like that, a scandal was born.
You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person
— elena ilana alana alina elana (not) (@lenibriscoe) December 21, 2020
Video clips show Hilaria—formerly known as Hillary Hayward-Thomas—appearing on talk shows where she speaks with an accent, and in one particularly juicy clip, she forgets the English word for “cucumber” during a cooking segment. Another unearthed video shows Hilaria saying that she moved to the US when she was 19 years old to attend NYU, and that she knew nothing about American pop culture because she had grown up in Mallorca.
Here she is pretending not to know how to say cucumber in English 😭 pic.twitter.com/g8xYNktsNY
— elena ilana alana alina elana (not) (@lenibriscoe) December 21, 2020
In past interviews, Hilaria made additional claims that her mother is Spanish, and that English was not her native language. Yeah, none of that is true. Hilaria’s mother is an American woman who was attending medical school in the US when she was born, and in another video from a talk she gave, Hilaria’s mother speaks about growing up in Massachusetts in the 1960s—without any hint of a Spanish accent. And in case you’re wondering if Hilaria has some Spanish roots on her dad’s side, it turns out his ancestors have been in America since before the Revolutionary War. That’s like, 300 years of people with American accents.
As for her upbringing, childhood classmates have come out of the woodwork to say that Hilaria definitely grew up in the U.S., and they’re not sure where this accent came from. Basically, Hilaria Baldwin is a white woman from Boston whose actual name is Hillary. She may have spent time in Spain growing up, but she’s fully American, and at some point she concocted a patchy Spanish identity that included various claims about her ancestry and her upbringing, a new name, and of course, the accent.
The story spread like wildfire, as people uncovered more and more questionable details that contributed to this invented identity. For example, her own bio on her agency’s website says that “Baldwin was born in Mallorca, Spain.” By the weekend, the news had reached Hilaria, and on Sunday she addressed the controversy in two lengthy IGTV videos. While she did clear up a few important points (she was born in Boston, her father is not Spanish), she mostly used the videos as an opportunity to shame people for asking questions about her background, and vaguely accused journalists of taking her past comments out of context. Sure, Jan.
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In the second video, she suggested that people assumed she was Spanish because of her dark features, seemingly forgetting the fact that she’s spent years duping people into making that very assumption, and also that Spain is a European country with plenty of blonde people. She insisted that, rather than criticizing her, we should focus on the “beauty of diversity,” which is objectively true, but as a rich, white, American lady, I’m not sure what definition of diversity she falls into.
After Hilaria’s videos, Alec Baldwin posted an IGTV of his own, where he stares into the camera as he whispers angrily for eight minutes about how we need to “consider the source.” He tried to make a distinction between issues and stories that are real and obviously bad (Pizzagate, Jeffrey Epstein), and questionable tabloid stories that should be ignored. The thing about all of this, though, is that none of this Hilaria controversy is coming from mysterious tabloid sources. On the contrary, Hilaria herself has spent years saying and suggesting things that don’t add up or are flat-out false, and people are finally putting the pieces together. Alec can drag TMZ all he wants, but they’re not the ones who made this a story.
So at the end of the day, what was the point of of Hilaria/Hillary Hayward-Thomas/Baldwin’s long con? In her career as a yoga instructor, author, and general influencer and personality, it seems likely that she thought having a more ~exotic~ background would provide her with some kind of leverage. We’ve all had that one friend who pretended to pick up a bit of an accent after studying abroad in BarTHelona, and Hillary just took that like, 40 steps further. Maybe she wasn’t really hurting anyone, but she was definitely misleading her followers while building a brand based on authenticity and being open. Maybe none of this really matters, but it’s been a tough year, and I’m just glad we get to laugh about the cucumber emoji from now on.
Images: lev radin / Shutterstock.com; lenibriscoe / Twitter; hilariabaldwin / Instagram
Father’s Day is just around the corner aka the holiday you only remembered because your mom sent you a text saying “IT’S FATHER’S DAY, CALL YOUR DAD.” Thanks, mom, you da real MVP. We all love our dads because who else would pay our cell phone bills and help us move heavy furniture and patiently listen to us lose our shit because the Wifi is spotty in our apartments and, no, they can’t do anything to fix that. But sometimes fathers fuck up and their children turn into
Ariel Winter public cries for help. And why celebrate the success stories when we can delight in other people’s failures? So here are 6 people who have way bigger daddy issues than you (because taking away the “emergency” credit card is not a real issue).
1. Ariel Winter
Speaking of public cries for help, let’s start with my favorite one, shall we? Idk what it is but there’s just something about Ariel that makes me think she might have issues with the man that clearly did a terrible job raising her. She was emancipated from her parents in her teen years, so you know her childhood had to have been a shit show if she actually went through with the legal process and didn’t just threaten to every time her dad refused to extend her data package for the month. But it’s so weird because she just doesn’t seem like a girl with daddy issues. Normally those types of girls are
such attention whores always seeking validation through semi-nude selfies…
And her relationship with that
replacement father figure C-list actor guy who lets her live in his house Levi Meaden is just, like, the healthiest and not at all a cry for attention…
And she’s just so normal and real on Instagram…
Lol kidding! It’s blatantly obvious that this girl is screaming for parental guidance. Seriously, the other day she got a block of cheese tattooed on her wrist to match her boyfriend’s (of less than a year) jar of peanut butter. YOU’RE NOT EVEN MAKING SENSE, ARIEL. Honestly, if that doesn’t scream “daddy why don’t you love me” then idk what does. Seriously, you’re not fooling anyone, Ariel.
2. Ivanka Trump
Has anyone else noticed that when Ivanka is in her father’s presence she constantly looks like she’s internally screaming? Or is that just
me the look of complacency? Idk. Either way I really don’t have to say much here. I mean, I can only imagine the trauma of having a human Cheeto for a parent who is constantly trying to take away your birth control and is insistent on deporting your friend’s very hot foreign boyfriend. Ugh, like, dad STOP IT. You’re embarrassing me!
3. Ireland Baldwin
Ireland Baldwin, model and daughter of Alec Baldwin, has perhaps the best daddy issues story of all time. We know and love Alec Baldwin for how he accurately portrays roasts Donald J. Cheeto on SNL every week, but aside from being a comedic genius Alec is also a terrible parent. I guess we can’t have it all. But he has blessed us with one of the greatest, most quotable voicemails of all time. When Ireland was in fifth grade her dad left her this voicemail: “You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. You don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being.” A. Rude. Thoughtless. Little. Pig. *slow claps* Honestly, he gets all the points for creative language because that was savage AF. Seriously, I’m writing this one down for the next time I babysit. But I guess if you’re going to verbally abuse your child, you might as well make it something your kid—and America—will never forget, right Alec?
Just for the record, Ireland says this is “normal” behavior for her dad when he’s “frustrated.” In other news, Ireland just returned from a stint in rehab. I’m sure that’s unrelated though.
4. Jessica Simpson
Though she’s better at hiding her daddy issues than others *cough* Ariel Winter *cough* Jessica Simpson certainly has some. Does anyone else remember the one time her dad told GQ, “Jessica never tries to be sexy. She just is sexy. If you put her in a T-shirt or you put her in a bustier, she’s sexy in both. She’s got DOUBLE Ds! You can’t cover those suckers up”? *shudders* Jessica tried to play it off like this was fake news, but I’m not buying it. I mean, the guy has chunky blond highlights IN 2017, which is evidence enough that he’s a giant creep and 100% has inappropriate thoughts about his daughter.
5. Penelope Disick
I’m not one to shit on kids—I do have some morals—but like, P is bound to have some daddy issues when she grows up. Kourtney can only do so much in terms of distracting her daughter with lavish family vacations and birthday parties that feature live fucking mermaids as the entertainment before she’s going to realize that daddy is suspiciously missing from all of these events. Sorry P, Scott’s not “away on business”; he’s just getting shit-faced in Cannes with girls that could be your older sisters.
Yeah, being fucking adorable isn’t going to save your childhood from this, P. And in that same vein…
6. Every Single One Of The Kardashians
I’ve seen every episode of this show because I really
need to get better hobbies Keep Up, and while some would argue that Kris Jenner is clearly to blame for fucking these girls up I would argue that their dads DEFINITELY had a helping hand in this as well. One scroll through their Instagram feeds is really all the proof I need. Look, I’m not saying that semi-nude selfies are a definite cry for help, but I’m also not not saying that. For further proof, I’m just going to leave this here:
Yeah, they totally got enough love and attention as children. Totally.