By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
The Jackson, Wyoming family of fallen U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum is not giving up in its mission to seek retribution from famous actor Alec Baldwin.
McCollum’s sisters and widow have revived a defamation lawsuit against Baldwin over comments the actor made online.
“The previous case was released on jurisdiction, not on substance, that’s why we’re moving the case forward,” said Roice McCollum, sister of the fallen marine.
McCollum was killed while fighting in Afghanistan in August 2021. After his death, Baldwin sent the family $5,000 to help support McCollum’s widow Jiennah and her child. He communicated with Rylee’s sister Roice to make the contribution.
Later, Baldwin referred to Roice McCollum as an “insurrectionist” on his Instagram page because she attended a demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, the same day the U.S. Capitol was invaded. Roice, who posted a picture of a demonstration in Washington, D.C., on that day, had attended a demonstration in support of former President Donald Trump, but did not take part in the attack on the Capitol.
In the original lawsuit filed by the McCollums in U.S. District Court in Wyoming, the family alleged Baldwin then posted Roice McCollum’s picture to his own Instagram page, resulting in immediate insults and threats from some of his 2.4 million followers against not only Roice McCollum, but the fallen Marine’s other sister, widow and child.
Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled that Roice, Cheyenne and Jiennah McCollum failed to prove that Baldwin’s comments on his Instagram feed amounted to action on his part the court could address.
Roice McCollum told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday evening, she has faced ongoing harassment because of the incident, even after the case was thrown out in court.
“I get followed in grocery stores, I get harassed almost everywhere I go,” she said.
The new lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York federal court on Friday and seeks a combined $25 million in punitive and compensatory damages. Baldwin is facing civil claims for defamation, three counts negligence and gross negligence, three counts negligent infliction of emotional distress, three counts intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs have demanded for a jury trial.
Baldwin is a New York resident, living in an affluent neighborhood of New York City. The filing said he also owns a beach home in The Hamptons.
“Mr. Baldwin donated several thousand dollars to Ms. McCollum to honor her husband, and now she’s suing him for more because she disagrees with his political opinion about the insurrection that occurred on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol Building,” said Luke Nikas, an attorney representing Baldwin, in an email to the Associated Press. “We expect to prevail in this lawsuit, as we did the last time they filed it.”
The filing describes Baldwin as a “liberal Democrat who routinely voices his despisal of the Republican party and in particular, President Trump to his supporters via social media and anywhere else he can find an audience.”
According to the filing, McCollum’s widow, Jiennah McCollum, now lives in California and is in the process of moving to North Carolina.
“Jiennah has indeed suffered hate, shame, ridicule, threats, and lives in fear for her life and the life of her child,” the filing said. “Her sense of security and anonymity has been violated. Moreover, Jiennah has been dragged into these awful circumstances during the worst time of her life; while grieving the loss of her husband and the father of her child.”