For decades rumours have swirled that Kevin Spacey was gay. Now that’s been confirmed, but in a way that has attracted fury from many. Spacey came out following allegations by actor Anthony Rapp that the double Oscar-winning actor made a sexual pass at him when Rapp was just 14-years-old.
Rapp says the event took place in 1986, when he was appearing on Broadway in Precious Sons, and Spacey had a supporting role in a revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The young actor went to a party at Spacey’s house, where he soon discovered he didn’t know anyone else, and so ended up watching TV alone.
Talking to Buzzfeed, Rapp says it eventually got later than he’d realised, “My memory was that I thought, Oh, everybody’s gone. Well, yeah, I should probably go home.” Spacey, he recalled, “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk… He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me. He was trying to seduce me. I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”
Eventually he managed to squirm away and get to the bathroom, “I was like, ‘What is happening?’ I saw on the counter next to the sink a picture of him having his arm around a man. So I think on some level I was like, Oh. He’s gay. I guess. Then I opened the door, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go home now.’ He followed me to the front door of the apartment, and as I opened the door to leave, he was leaning on the front door[frame]. And he was like, ‘Are you sure you wanna go?’ I said, ‘Yes, good night,’ and then I did leave…
“My head was spinning. I have a memory of turning around and [thinking], What was that? What am I supposed to do with it? What does it mean?… The older I get, and the more I know, I feel very fortunate that something worse didn’t happen. And at the same time, the older I get, the more I can’t believe it. I could never imagine [that] anyone else I know would do something like that to a 14-year-old boy.”
After the Rent and Star Trek: Discovery actor stepped forward to talk about his experience and how it has affected him over the year, Spacey issued a response on Twitter: ‘I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.’
‘This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and for me that starts by examining my own behavior.’
Many however were furious not just about what Spacey is said to have done to an underage boy, but also at the way his statement appears to be attempting to deflect criticism by coming out as gay. He appears with his statement to have tried to take some measure of responsibility by not denying the claim, however many have seen the second paragraph as an attempt to move the focus away from Rapp’s allegations and onto Spacey revealing he’s gay.
There have also been many who have found it extremely troubling and problematic that by talking about allegations of inapporiate conduct with someone who was underage in the context of him coming out, Spacey has conflated homosexuality with pedophilia – a stereotype the gay community has been fighting for decades. As a result, many celebrities and others have taken Spacey to task not just for what he’s said to have done, but also for the way he responded.
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis took to Twitter to say, ‘Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault… This isn’t a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp & those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that.’
It has also been revealed that Spacey’s hit show, House Of Cards, will end after it’s upcoming sixth season. They also released a statement saying, “Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey. In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time.”
Zachary Quinto, who appeared alongside Spacey in the film Margin Call, perhaps summed things up in the statement he released: ‘It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how Kevin Spacey has chosen to come out. Not by standing up as a point of pride – in the light of all his many awards and accomplishments – thus inspiring tens of thousands of struggling LGBTQ kids around the world, but as a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusation that he attempted to molest one.
‘I am sorry to hear of Anthony Rapp’s experience and subsequent suffering. And I am sorry that Kevin only saw fit to acknowledge his truth when he thought it could serve him – just as his denial served him for so many years. May Anthony Rapp’s voice be the only one which is amplified here. Victim’s voices are the ones that deserve to be heard.”