John W. Ferguson/Getty Images
Kate Ward
September 19, 2011 AT 01:21 PM EDT

Why didn’t Alec Baldwin show up at the 62nd Emmys last night? Though it was previously reported the actor skipped after Fox cut a Rupert Murdoch joke he filmed for the telecast, Baldwin said he simply chose to attend a birthday party instead. In New York for Tony Bennett’s 85th birthday gala, the actor told reporters of the Murdoch report, “I didn’t skip the Emmys because of that … I skipped the Emmys because of this — because I wanted to be here.”

Baldwin served as host of the Bennett gala — a role he said he signed up for long before the Emmys show was scheduled — and told reporters he would catch the Emmys “on YouTube tomorrow.” On Sunday, reports claimed Baldwin was angry that Fox had decided to remove a bit poking fun at the News of the World phone hacking scandal in Britain. (Fox told EW that the joke was cut because the network feared it would be in poor taste to make light of serious allegations surrounding the scandal.) Baldwin addressed the situation later, tweeting, “Fox did kill my NewsCorp hacking joke. Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little.”

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