Kevin Spacey Criticized for Using Coming Out as 'Deflection' in Apology to Anthony Rapp
Kevin Spacey’s apology to Rent actor Anthony Rapp for unwanted sexual advances more than 30 years ago has inspired plenty of backlash from the Hollywood community and beyond.
Critics of the actor take issue with Spacey’s decision to use his apology to Rapp to come out as a gay man, calling the move everything from a “deflection” to a “calculated manipulation.”
“It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how Kevin Spacey has chosen to come out,” Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto wrote in a lengthy message on Twitter. “Not by standing up as a point of pride – in 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.”
Quinto went on to note that in these instances, “victim’s voices are the ones that deserve to be heard.”
Star Trek actor George Takei similarly took a stance against Spacey’s oddly timed declaration, saying in a statement: “When power is used in a non-consensual situation, it is a wrong. For Anthony Rapp, he has had to live with the memory of this experience of decades ago. For Kevin Spacey, who claims not to remember the incident, he was the older, dominant one who had his way. Men who improperly harass or assault do not do so because they are gay o straight – that is a deflection. They do so because they have the power, and they chose to abuse it.”
Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 30, 2017
Nope to Kevin Spacey’s statement. Nope. There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child.
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) October 30, 2017
No no no no no! You do not get to “choose” to hide under the rainbow! Kick rocks! https://t.co/xJDGAxDjxz
— Official Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) October 30, 2017
In a feature published Sunday night, Star Trek: Discovery actor Rapp revealed that the Oscar-winner once allegedly tried to sexually assault him when he was just 14 and Spacey was 26.
“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp said. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”
Later that evening, Spacey issued an apology, directly addressing the accusation but noting that he did not remember the incident.
“I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago,” Spacey wrote. “But if I did behave 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. … 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.”
GLAAD issued a statement Monday condemning Spacey’s response: “Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said. “This is not a coming out story about Kevin Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp and all those who bravely speak out against unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that.”
As a result of Rapp’s allegations, Netflix announced Monday that it would pull the plug on the sixth season of House of Cards, in which Spacey stars. Deadline reports that Netflix’s film Gore, which also features Spacey, may be cancelled as well.