Alec Baldwin made his first public appearance Thursday since the fatal shooting on the set of the Western film “Rust,” hosting the annual Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope gala in midtown Manhattan in New York City.
“Thank you for all coming out tonight. It’s great to be together in person,” Baldwin said in brief introductory remarks. “My wife and I have six kids — anything to get out of the house for 30 minutes.”
He called on guests to follow the words of Robert F. Kennedy and “make gentle the life of this world.”
Kerry Kennedy, the president of the organization, known as Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, said she was “touched” that Baldwin agreed to appear.
“He’s there. He’s there in good times and bad, in your good times and bad, in his good times and bad,” Kennedy said. “He always shows up.”
The shooting is under investigation. In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that aired last week, Baldwin insisted that he did not pull the trigger.
The RFK gala, which recognizes public figures who are dedicated to social change, presented a Ripple of Hope award to Stacey Abrams, the voting rights activist who is running for governor of Georgia.
The other honorees were Amanda Gorman, the young poet who spoke at President Joe Biden’s inauguration; José E. Feliciano, a co-founder and the managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group; Deven Parekh, the managing director of Insight Partners; and Hans Vestberg, the chairman and CEO of Verizon.
Vice President Kamala Harris appeared virtually to deliver the keynote address, congratulating the honorees on their awards and linking their work to that of Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Whether your talents are in the spoken word or in social responsibility, in building coalitions or in leading corporations, you have inspired our nation with your vision of who we are and what we can be, much like Robert F. Kennedy himself,” Harris said in a recorded video.
The gala’s special guests included musician Aloe Blacc, historian Douglas Brinkley, actor Richard Kind and members of the extended Kennedy family.
Previous winners of the Ripple of Hope Award include Biden, former President Barack Obama, Apple chief Tim Cook, football player and activist Colin Kaepernick and actor George Clooney.
Thursday’s event was attended by more than 700 people, all of whom were required to show proof of vaccination and negative Covid test results.