Hilaria Baldwin's Fake Spanish Accent Saga, Explained

by Stephanie Maida · December 28, 2020

    Hilaria Baldwin has had quite a week. The yoga pose extraordinaire, author, podcast host, and mother of five was first embroiled in a body-shaming debate after comedian Amy Schumer reposted a photo of her with her newborn son, Edu, basically poking fun at how good she looked after recently giving birth. Amy deleted the post and apologized, Hilaria made a video demanding body inclusivity for hot people, and all was seemingly well.

    But then! A rather under-the-radar Twitter thread, posted on Monday, December 21st, slowly started gaining traction. Brooklyn-based Twitter user, @lenibriscoe, started it all when she tweeted, "You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin's commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person," before launching into multi-tweet investigation calling into question the legitimacy of Hilaria's cultural origins and flip-flopping Spanish accent. She's frequently claimed to be from Mallorca, Spain (where her parents have presently retired to), has said that she grew up "in Boston and Spain," but has also said that she moved to the U.S. when she was 19 to go to NYU.

    However, as Reddit users started pointing out weeks ago, Eeelaria's real name is Hillary (née Hayward-Thomas), she grew up in Massachusetts, and even attended the Cambridge School of Weston, a bougie private school near Boston.

    Now, obviously, that doesn't mean that her family can't be Spanish, or that Spanish isn't her native tongue - after all, why else would she require assistance when trying to say "cucumber" in English in an unearthed old cooking segment on the Today show? But alas, internet sleuths have also determined that her parents are as American as they come - her mother grew up in Massachusetts, and her father's family has been here since before the American Revolution. Twitter user @lenibriscoe supplied plenty of evidence, while one early Reddit commenter claimed, "No one in her family has a Spanish accent and [Hillary] did not have an accent until she met Alec. Her parents are very well known in the Boston community. It is shocking to me that she (or her agency) has the power to cover this all up."

    Writer and producer Tracie Egan Morrissey then entered the chat, taking to her own Instagram stories to expound upon the conspiracy, adding more viral fuel to the fire (and, we have to say, making it a bit weird by focusing on Hilaria's reproductive choices, but we, like she, digress). 

    Benefit of the doubt given, this could have been a harmless, albeit strange, grift - or, dare we say, "cultural appreciation" of Hilaria's (Hillary's?) adopted "home" of Spain. Even all their promotion of raising their children - Carmen Gabriela, Rafael Thomas, Leonardo Ángel, Romeo Alejandro, and Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas - in a bilingual household wouldn't be *so* bad if, of course, Hilaria didn't weave in the occasional tale of prejudice (like the time she shared that mothers at the park think she's a nanny) or allow and promote the assumption of her being Latina (despite the fact that actual Spaniards aren't even considered part of the Latin American community, because, well, Spain is in Europe), thus constructing for herself what seemed like an immigrant backstory with implied struggles she cannot actually lay claim to.

    The backlash has been swift and brutal. Memes and jokes abound, and even Amy Schumer (remember her, from the beginning of this tale?) added to the conversation, continuing her and Hilaria's passive-aggressive Insta exchange with a 'gram captioned, "I get it. I went to Spain a couple of times and loved it too," complete with a cucumber emoji. Emily Ratajkowski quickly chimed in.

    So, what does Hilaria have to say about all this? On Sunday, we got both her and her (slightly more anticipated) husband's response.

    "I was born in Boston," Hilaria captioned her own Instagram post explaining her upbringing, "and grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain. My parents and sibling live in Spain and I chose to live here, in the USA."

    https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"... stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd">
    View this post on Instagram
    A post shared by Hilaria Thomas Baldwin (@hilariabaldwin)

    "I’ve never said that my mother was Spanish, my family is a big mix of so many different things," she continued in her video. "I don’t really understand why this is turning into such a big thing. I want to take it seriously, but I also don’t want it to be all of a sudden I’m apologizing for who I am. Because at this point, I’m starting to feel that I’m being attacked for who I am, and that no answer is the right answer."

    Alec, however, supplied a less straightforward - and slightly scarier - response to the allegations. In an over-eight minute video posted on his own Instagram, he talked a lot about... used coasters (?) and how Twitter is an "orchard of crap." While he didn't directly address the claims, he ended on this pointed (and very Liam Neeson à la Taken) note:

    https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"... stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd">
    View this post on Instagram
    A post shared by Amanda Hirsch (@notskinnybutnotfat)

    Well, there you have it folks! At least the last shitstorm of 2020 (well, hopefully) was amusing.