NOTORIOUS hothead Alec Baldwin has openly gay newsman Anderson Cooper all riled up over nasty, homophobic slurs he hurled at an English reporter.

The fireworks began in June when the 55-year-old actor went on a Twitter tirade against a “Daily Mail” reporter who wrote about Baldwin’s wife supposedly tweeting in the middle of James Gandolfini’s funeral.

Baldwin blasted the reporter, calling him a “queen” and a “bitch.”

And that threw Anderson into a fury!

Cooper tweeted, asking: “Why does Alec Baldwin get a pass when he uses gay slurs? If a conservative talked of beating up a ‘queen,’ they would be vilified.”

A source close to the 46-year-old CNN anchorman added: “Anderson knows that Alec is a pro-gay rights liberal and made those remarks in anger, but that doesn’t excuse him.”

Baldwin denied that the comments were directed toward the reporter’s sexuality, but, upset at Anderson’s comments, the “30 Rock” star blasted him on Howard Stern’s July 23 radio show. He accused the newsman – who came out of the closet just last year – of trying to “reinforce his credibility in the gay community.”

And in a stinging slap, he added: “You couldn’t get him out of the closet for 10 years with a canister of tear gas.”

Now he’s acting like a “sheriff,” bristled Baldwin. “Writing everybody a ticket.”