It’s been quite the tumultuous month for the entertainment and media industries, as allegations of sexual harrassment, assault and rape have been levied by hundreds of women against a small handful of powerful men, forcing several national conversations about a range of painful, thorny, or difficult topics, from systemic misogyny to rape culture to how our images and ideas of women are shaped by the very men who commit abuses against them.
Into this fray jumped actor Anthony Rapp of Star Trek: Discovery fame (and an original cast member of Rent), who took strength and solace from the bravery of the survivors who stepped forward recently and finally (because it’s been an open secret for years) told his own story to Buzzfeed News:
“In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp is publicly alleging for the first time that in 1986, Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance. According to public records, Spacey was 26. Rapp was 14.”
This kind of celebrity news isn’t normally our purview (which is why this post is being published under the little-used pop culture category here). Rapp is very brave for making this assertion and we have every reason to believe his account. We hope other men who have suffered the same abuses can take something from Rapp’s account, whether it be the knowledge that they’re not alone and that the abuse was not their fault, or whether it actually gives others the strength to stand up and be counted among the survivors. This all would have rated a few tweets and maybe half a podcast on our parts.
But Spacey, who must have the worst PR team since… well, since Harvey Weinstein, we suppose, released a statement so tone-deaf and self-serving that it made us physically ill:
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
No. Absolutely fucking not. Coming out is a painful, exhilarating moment of truth for every LGBT person and many if not most of us have approached it with incredible fear and even reverence. It’s about stating the truth of yourself in front of a world that seeks to oppose that truth. It’s the entire reason why we have PRIDE parades; not because we’re gay or bi or trans or queer, but because we had the strength to come out and say so. To state the truth of your orientation and desires is a beautiful moment that, quite frankly, most heterosexual or cisgender people simply cannot understand fully. It’s the moment you give birth to yourself.
And it’s a moment Kevin Spacey has spent decades avoiding and denying, even after the allegations and insinuations piled up to the point where it became undeniable. Spacey never once stated the truth of himself, prefering to obfuscate, if not outright lie; and when that became untenable, he switched over to making winking jokes on the matter, all while never once stating the truth.
And all of that? His choice. Truly. We don’t respect a man of his age and standing refusing to be open about who he is, but we respect his right to make that choice. But we vehemently reject the use of the standard celebrity coming-out announcement to distract from the fact that serious allegations have been made against him. Worse, the statement made it sound like feeling up 14-year-olds is just a thing that happens when gay men – pardon us, men who “choose to live as a gay man” – get drunk.
In case there’s any confusion on this matter, please allow these two longstanding gay men to clear it up for you:
Alcohol does not make gay men fondle teenage boys.
That one’s all on you, Kev. And fuck you for hiding behind the rainbow flag – the very one you ran screaming from for two decades – when your shit went public. You’re revolting. We have never once seen ourselves as people who speak on behalf of the LGBT community, but just this once, we’re gonna grab the mic and say, “Sit the fuck down, Kevin Spacey. We want no part of you.”