I fully planned to nurse my Christmas cookie hangover with a week of social media fasting. Surely nothing of interest would happen between December 25 and the new year—but what to my wondering eyes did appear but a miniature scandal in the form of Hilaria Baldwin’s accent. A playful (now deleted) Instagram post by Amy Schumer collided with a December 21 Twitter thread detailing the inconsistencies in Hilaria's claimed Spanish heritage, starting with her fair-weather Spanish accent. This birthed a perfect, low-stakes controversy about whether or not the podcast host is really as Spanish as she so often claims—but Hilaria, as well as her husband, actor Alec Baldwin, are incorrectly attempting to spin it into something else: a scandal about the media.

“I’ve tried in the past to be clear but sometimes people don’t always report and write what you say,” Hilaria posted in an Instagram video over the weekend attempting to clarify her bilingual upbringing. In Hilaria’s account, any assertions that she was born in Spain are actually the result of reporters spinning their own narrative or misunderstanding Hilaria’s answers.

Her husband says something similar in his own Instagram video indirectly addressing the controversy. 

“TMZ is a sewage treatment plant...if the New York Post writes something, it’s another sewage treatment plant,” he says, repeatedly adding, “Consider the source.” (Feels important to note he followed this video with an ominous Aldous Huxley quote about “pharmaceutical brainwashing” that commenters believe to be in reference to the Coronavirus vaccine).

However, these inaccuracies are not reported second-hand—they weren’t even surfaced by the press at all. The original Twitter thread points to primary sources from Hilaria and her family themselves that don’t add up. For instance, Hilaria’s biography on the Creative Artist Agency website, of which she is a client, claims she was born in Mallorca, Spain. However, her mother’s bio places the family in Boston at the time of Hilaria’s birth. 

Even instances when the press is involved don’t make sense. In two different Hola! Magazine interviews, Hilaria is identified as Spanish, and one even describes her as a native Spanish speaker. If Hilaria was born in Boston—which she finally confirmed in her recent Instagram video—it’s curious neither she nor her team asked for any kind of correction in the piece, and continued to give interviews to the outlet without clarification. 

And I haven’t even gotten to the many, many videos in which Hilaria’s accent appears and disappears, sometime in the same sentence. While the media certainly helped elevate the scandal, the original tweet got thousands of retweets all on its own, and the evidence was surfaced by regular people using Hilaria’s own words. The point is, whatever the truth, Hilaria got herself into this mess—not reporters who were likely doing their best with a lot of conflicting information. Now, as Hilaria Baldwin would say, ciao!