The widow and sisters of a US Marine killed in Afghanistan are suing actor Alec Baldwin for at least $25 million, claiming he exposed them to online vitriol after the actor accused one of the women of being a Jan. 6 insurrectionist.
The family of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, who was one of 13 Marines killed by a suicide bomber outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 26, 2021, has filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Friday afternoon. He was 20 years old at the time of his death.
When McCollum died, Baldwin discovered one of his sisters, Roice, on Instagram and sent her a $5,000 check for his widow, Jiennah, and their newborn baby. According to the lawsuit, the payment was a “tribute to a fallen soldier.”
In January 2022, months after the “30 Rock” star got in a public argument with Roice, she posted a photo of herself protesting near the Washington Monument on Jan. 6, 2021 – the first anniversary of the Capitol Hill riot.
In response, she was labeled an “insurrectionist” and accused her of beginning the riot by Baldwin.
His “seemingly benevolent overtures turned into a nightmare” reads the suit for the McCollum family.
“Are you the same woman I sent the $ for your sister’s husband who was killed during the Afghanistan exit?” Baldwin allegedly wrote on Roice’s Instagram post using his account, as stated in the complaint.
He, allegedly, also sent her a direct message as well.
“When I sent the $ for your late brother, out of real respect for his service to this country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter,” Baldwin wrote, according to the lawsuit.
“Protesting is perfectly legal in the country and I’ve already had my sit down with the FBI. Thanks, have a nice day!” Roice said.
“I don’t think so,” Baldwin replied. “Your activities resulted in the unlawful destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, an assault on the certification of the presidential election. I reposted your photo. Good luck.”
Roice’s photo was reposted on his Instagram account- which has a following of 2.4 million people. The post mentioned her involvement Jan. 6, 2021 protests, as displayed in the complaint
Within 20 minutes of Roice reposting the photo, Baldwin’s fans allegedly sent “hostile, aggressive, hateful messages.”
He also incorrectly labeled Jiennah as an insurrectionist in an Instagram comment, even though she wasn’t in DC that day, the lawsuit states.
According to the complaint, Zareen Jjelic, Jiennah Roice, and Cheyenne were trolled by Instagram users who claimed they were white supremacists and likened them to Nazis. Some have demanded that she return the $5,000 that Baldwin had given her.
The family alleges that Baldwin’s inaction led to his millions of followers contacting them.
“Baldwin’s conduct was negligent and reckless as he should have known that making the allegations he did against Plaintiffs to his millions of followers would cause Plaintiffs harm,” the suit reads.
Baldwin’s representatives could not be reached for comment.
The plaintiffs—McCullom’s sisters Roice and Cheyenne, and his widow Jiennah—have filed a second lawsuit against Baldwin. The first was in January in Wyoming, where Roice and Cheyenne live. Jiennah lives in California.
After a Wyoming judge ruled in May that she lacked authority over Baldwin, who resides in New York, the lawsuit was dismissed.
The family is asking for a trial by jury and wants to be compensated with at least $25 million dollars because they feel there was an invasion of privacy, defamation, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.