Kevin Spacey Blasted for Bizarre Response to Allegations He Sexually Harassed a 14-Year-Old

News & Politics

Kevin Spacey is facing criticism for the way he linked his sexuality to his apology about allegations of sexual advances towards a 14-year-old actor.

The House Of Cards star and former artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre said he could not remember sexually harassing Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp in 1986.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell lamented the timing of Spacey’s decision to come out as gay.

“It is tragic that it has taken allegations of sexual harassment for Kevin Spacey to finally come out as gay, after not disclosing his sexuality for decades. It is even worse that he mixes up his sexuality with inappropriate behaviour. His gayness is irrelevant. It’s his actions that have prompted concern,” he told the Guardian.

Tatchell added: “Although women are the main victims of sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour by male public figures, clearly some men are victims too. All those affected, whatever their gender or sexuality, deserve admiration for coming forward and telling their story.

“We have to respond to the post-Weinstein outpouring of revelations by changing the male and workplace culture that allows abuse to happen. To protect future generations, it should be mandatory for all schools to teach pupils about consent and abuse issues and to challenge the disordered forms of masculinity that fuel sex abuse.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp said Spacey, then aged 26, put him on a bed and climbed on top of him after a party at his apartment.

In a statement Spacey said that if this did happen he owes Rapp his “sincerest apology”. The statement goes on discuss living as a gay man, prompting widespread criticism that Spacey appears to be conflating homosexuality with abuse.

Spacey said in the statement posted on Twitter: “I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fuelled by the fact that 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 that starts with examining my own behaviour.”

Louise Brealey, a writer and actor who plays Molly in Sherlock, accused Spacey of “breathtaking arrogance” over the way he apologised.

Rose McGowan – one of the many actors who have accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment – suggested Spacey was trying to deflect attention from the allegations by writing openly about his sexuality.

Later she indicated she was cutting ties with Spacey.

Actor and comedian Billy Eichner tweeted: “That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.”

“But honestly I hesitate to make jokes because the Spacey statement is truly disgusting, irresponsible and dangerous.”

Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson, said it was “disgusting” of Spacey to conflate coming out as gay with preying on a 14-year-old in a tweet that has been shared more than 3,000 times.

Rapp told BuzzFeed he believed Spacey was trying to “seduce” him, but that he was able to “squirm” away soon afterwards, locking himself in the bathroom before telling Spacey he was leaving.

“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,” Rapp said.

Rapp said that for years he did not tell anyone about his experience. It was not until Spacey’s career began to rise in the 1990s and 2000s that Rapp became angrier and more frustrated at the memory, saying his “stomach churns” when he sees Spacey now.

“I still to this day can’t wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It’s just deeply confusing to me,” Rapp said.

As a gay man himself, Rapp said he had found Spacey’s firm stance on his own private life deeply frustrating: “I wanted to scream to the rooftops, ‘This guy is a fraud!’”

Rapp attributed his ability to cope in the aftermath of the alleged incident to his acting training, and that he had “locked it away” within himself. But he also said there were times afterwards when he found seeing Spacey on screen and in person highly distressing and that he dreaded the prospect of the two of them ever working together.

Rapp considered himself fortunate that “something worse didn’t happen” – but also expressed incredulity that it happened at all. He says he considered talking to Spacey about the encounter but never did.

The actor also considered legal action, but was advised he did not have grounds to make a case. He had previously told the story, with Spacey’s name removed, in 2001 to the Advocate, a US gay men’s magazine.

Rapp told BuzzFeed he felt compelled to come forward publicly in the wake of the wave of sexual assault accusations against disgraced industry mogul Harvey Weinstein.

In a series of tweets after the publication of the interview, Rapp said: “I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out, to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me.”

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