The Emmy Awards in 2011, which aired on Sunday on Fox, was originally set to open with a video featuring actor Alec Baldwin, Deadline first reported.
In the taped opening, Baldwin, playing the President of Television, made a joke about the ongoing News Corp UK phone-hacking scandal. Fox, which is owned by News Corp, decided to cut out the joke.
Baldwin then protested the cut and decided to pull his involvement from the award show. At the last minute, he was replaced by veteran actor Leonard Nimoy in the opening video segment.
Baldwin confirmed the incident with a series of Tweets (below):
- Fox did kill my News Corp hacking joke. Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little.
- I understand News Corp killing that joke.
- If I were enmeshed in a scandal where I hacked phones of families of innocent crime victims purely 4 profit, I'd want that 2 go away, 2.
A Fox representative told Deadline that the decision to cut the hacking joke was made on the Fox level (not on the News Corp level) and was motivated by the desire to not make light of them.
A source also told Deadline that Baldwin's issue isn't with the subject matter of the joke; instead, he was concerned that the cut would affect the pace and flow of the whole skit.