Over the weekend, actor Anthony Rapp accused acclaimed House of Cards star Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct, saying he was harassed by Spacey at the young age of 14. In response, Spacey sent out a letter of apology, coming out in the process, revealing that he has decided to live his life as a gay man, a rumor that has been persistent in Hollywood since The Usual Suspects debuted in 1995. So Spacey's admission wasn't a surprise to most. What may be surprising is the backlash this apology has stirred up amongst many outspoken gay role models in the entertainment community. They aren't having any of it.
It's unclear if Kevin Spacey was truly trying to use this as a smokescreen for the fact that he attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with Rapp, who was underage at the time. As Rapp tells it, Spacey allegedly picked Rapp up off the ground before lying on top of him. Spacey then tried to seduce the 14-year-old. Anthony Rapp calls these actions sexual, not playful. After escaping Spacey's clutches, Rapp claims he hid in a bathroom before demanding to leave. In response, Spacey had this to say, admitting that he is gay.
"I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I am 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 a deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he described having carried with him all of 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 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 behavior."
These comments set off a firestorm of outrage. Many believe that Spacey should never have used an apology of this nature to issue a coming out statement at the same time. Especially when the incident that is being apologized for revolves around accusations of an underage sexual assault. Savage Love writer and It Gets Better creator Dan Savage was the first to speak out, appalled at the way Spacey handled the situation. He says this.
"There's no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child."
Popular comedian and Billy on the Street host put it a little more succinctly when he said this in negative response to the apology.
"That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope."
Rose McGowan, who has been at the forefront of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, admitting that the producer and co-founder of The Weinstein Company, raped her, has been the most outspoken in leading the charge in Hollywood against sexual predators. And she is equally angered by Spacey's apology. She wants everyone to remember this is about the victim, not the accused.
"Dear fellow media: Keep focus on #AnthonyRapp BE THE VICTIM'S VOICE. Help us level the playing field."
Author Mark Harris and Comedian Cameron Esposito have joined Full Frontal writer Travon Free in helping to emphasized that being gay does not have to do with going after underaged boys. A lot of people are quite upset about Kevin Spacey's recent handling of this situation. You can read those responses here as originally collected in a story over at Variety.