Actor Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed News he was 14 years old when a then-26-year-old Kevin Spacey climbed on top of him and propositioned him for sex at a party at Spacey's apartment in 1986.
Rapp finally felt comfortable speaking out about his experience thanks to the brave women who've come forward with their stories of sexual assault and harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, and others.
Spacey made a statement after Rapp's allegations went public, and he used the opportunity to come out as gay. The problem with this tactic is that Spacey perpetuated the harmful, false stereotype that gay men are sexual predators by using his gayness as an excuse for his pederasty — to be clear, Spacey's penchant for inappropriately propositioning minors is 100 percent unrelated to his homosexuality. Many are rightly furious that he conflated the two.
Actor Anthony Rapp is best known for his roles in Star Trek: Discovery and Rent (both the original cast and the movie cast), but he's had a long and prolific theater career as well.
via: Getty ImagesIt was while he was acting on Broadway when he was 14 that Rapp met fellow stage actor, Kevin Spacey. Spacey invited Rapp to a party he was hosting, and Rapp accepted his invitation. Rapp, who was much younger than anyone at the party, quickly became bored and found himself watching TV in the bedroom. After a while, Rapp noticed Spacey standing in the doorway. Everyone else had left the party. That was when, Rapp said, Spacey "picked me up like a groom picks up a bride over the threshold." He describes that Spacey put him on the bed, lied down on top of him, and was "pressing into" him and "tightening his arms." Somehow, he squirmed away and left the apartment. The experience has haunted Rapp ever since.
Though Spacey did not return BuzzFeed's numerous attempts to reach him for a comment, he took to Twitter once the story was published and offered this statement:
https://t.co/X6ybi5atr5— Kevin Spacey (@Kevin Spacey)1509336019.0
This sort-of apology is dangerous for multiple reasons.
via: Getty ImagesOne reason is that Spacey seems to be trying to victimize himself here. He's been so "protective" of his privacy, and he uses this story of Rapp's sexual assault to address rumors that have been swirling about him for years instead of to take responsibility for his beyond-inappropriate actions. Yes, it's been one of those "open secrets" in Hollywood for years that Kevin Spacey was gay, or at least that he had a habit of hitting on men. In 1997, Esquire magazine's profile of Kevin Spacey was called, "Kevin Spacey Has a Secret," and it "strongly implied that the actor is gay." In 2000, Star magazine published grainy paparazzi photos of Spacey with an "unknown male friend." Yet the actor always remained tight-lipped about his personal life. Coming out now, in light of these accusations, is at best extremely irresponsible, at worst a manipulative distraction from the truth.
The truth is that being gay and preying on underage men are two completely separate, different things.
Actor Anthony Rapp: Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance toward me when I was 14 https://t.co/QJduMoiahy https://t.co/6hjQRHgLCm— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed)1509367202.0
After Spacey made his statement, many were quick to point out that Spacey's behavior with an underage man is in no way related to his coming out as gay.
The psychology of the closet is dark and cruel and self-punishing. That Spacey has dwelt in that for years is sad.… https://t.co/qnzl2ad3Go— Richard Lawson (@Richard Lawson)1509336771.0
Spacey's statement is dangerous because it uses his drunkenness and his homosexuality as an excuse for his assault of a child.
There’s the “alcohol made me into a pederast” bit, and then Spacey making his identity the story. Both are foul, and a gift to homophobes.— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith)1509337178.0
A person's sexuality has nothing to do with whether or not that person is a sexual predator. Say it again.Sexual predators are all about power. Being gay does not make you a sexual predator. Being a sexual predator makes you a sexual predator.
Spacey using Rapp's allegations as his platform to come out endangered the gay community, which has fought off these false stereotypes for so long.As Ashlee Marie Preston says, "Stay on topic." Spacey's coming out, whether deliberately so or not, is a distraction from the fact that he's a sexual predator who preyed on an underage boy, not an excuse or a factor in the story.
Spacey's statement makes it clear that he takes no responsibility for his actions that night.
Another day, another white man shrugging off responsibility for his actions and then throwing a marginalized group… https://t.co/ysOSI8ZmzJ— Amanda Mancino-Williams (@Amanda Mancino-Williams)1509363103.0