The PEN America Gala is a celebration of the work of PEN America, a nonprofit that promotes and celebrates freedom of speech through written works. The 2023 gala, held on May 18 at the American Museum of Natural History, had two major honorees. The first was Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live's creator and showrunner. The second was Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed and controversial novelist. Rushdie was making his first public appearance since being attacked at a lecture in Chautauqua, New York in August 2022.
Also making his first public appearance in some time, albeit for different reasons, was actor Alec Baldwin. Baldwin, who had performed under Michaels as Donald Trump between 2017 and 2020, was making his first public appearance since the criminal charges against the actor had been dropped. Baldwin had been previously charged in the death of a cinematographer on Baldwin's film Rust. Halyna Hutchins was killed when a firearm Baldwin was holding discharged. However, Baldwin was unable to stay out of the tabloids.
Baldwin Verbally Lashes Out At Server
According to a source who spoke with Page Six, the night was not free of controversy for Baldwin. Allegedly, Baldwin stood up from his table to speak with a group of fellow guests. This caused a server carrying food to become trapped behind Baldwin. "Then, when she could pass, she started putting plates on the table," the insider told Page Six.
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"I guess he didn't like that she did that with him standing there," the source continued, saying that Baldwin proceeded to "start scolding" the server. After letting her leave, the source told Page Six that the server was overheard saying "I don't know why he yelled at me." As for why Baldwin lashed out, Page Six's source had a theory on that too. "I'm guessing he felt it was rude of her to start putting plates down while he was standing there."