Over the weekend, Kevin Spacey became the latest Hollywood powerhouse accused of sexual misconduct.
Actor Anthony Rapp, best known as one of the original cast members in the Broadway musical Rent, said that when he was 14, a 26-year-old Spacey invited him over to his apartment. Spacey then allegedly put Rapp down in a bed, climbed on top of him, and made sexual advances.
Spacey, now 58, claims that he doesn’t remember the encounter from over 30 years ago and goes on to come out of the closet as a gay man. See the full statement from his twitter account below.
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
I read this statement when it was posted last night and it left me with a sickened feeling in my stomach all day. I’ve debated all day whether or not to post my reaction to it. I’m a pretty emotional guy and it’s taking everything in me not to just rip him a new one. I find myself increasingly angry about this clear bait-and-switch. It feels as though Spacey believes he can hide behind the protection of the LGBT community (MY COMMUNITY) to wiggle out of sexual assault allegations.
You see, I came out of the closet very young. I have lived as a gay man since I was 15. I have found a beautiful family in the queer community and the allies that support us. It is a part of my life that cherish and wouldn’t change even if I could. And right now, my identity is being hijacked by a disgraced Hollywood elite.
After much thought, here is what I think about Mr. Spacey’s comments.
He came out in an attempt to shove aside sexual assault
Mr. Spacey’s sexual orientation has been an open secret for years. He has had every opportunity in the world to come out of the closet. So why now? It appears to me that he sees a world where queer people are being embraced. A kinder and gentler world than the one he was fist brought into. Queer people finally have a seat at the table and are being taken seriously. It appears that he is attempting to use this to his advantage. Perhaps he envisioned the warm embrace that the Will & Grace reboot got. Maybe he thought he’d get magazine covers and a 60 Minutes interview like Caitlyn Jenner.
But his attempt at distracting us with his sexual orientation wasn’t only in poor taste. It straight-up backfired.
In cases of rape, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and domestic abuse, the perpetrator is not expressing sexual desire. They are exercising their power over another person.
He is perpetuating the stereotype that gay men are sexual predators
There is a long-standing belief in this country that queer people are predators, chomping at the bit to prey on children. This is emphatically incorrect. It is an ugly stigma that is brought up anytime queer rights are discussed.
Sexual violence is always about power and has little to nothing to do with sexual orientation
In cases of rape, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and domestic abuse, the perpetrator is not expressing sexual desire. They are exercising their power over another person. Abusers get off on controlling their victims. Pairing his sexual assault allegations with his coming out is like calling an investment banker because your pancakes are done. The two things have nothing to do with one another.
He used the phrase “I choose now to live as a gay man”
Another age-old myth: homosexuality is a choice. Let’s set aside all of the research that suggests otherwise and focus on the fact that being queer in our society is difficult. Even in 2017, queer people face alienation from their families and communities. We still have to defend our rights to housing, employment, and marriage. Being gay isn’t all parties and fashion and good times as TV would have you believe. It is a difficult life. One that I likely would never have chosen for myself. Mr. Spacey, please do not encourage this misunderstanding.
Now, Mr. Spacey has not confirmed this event from over 30 years ago. But with the seemingly endless parade of victims coming forward against powerful Hollywood types, I find it interesting that he didn’t immediately dismiss it. Either way, I hope the alleged victim finds peace with what happened to him and I hope that Mr. Spacey learns and grows from this terribly misguided attempt to distract from this very serious allegation.
That being said, he is not allowed to use my family, friends, and community as a scapegoat. We are not predators. We are people. We are your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and, yes, your radio show hosts. I look forward to a time when someone claims queer people are predators and it is met with eye-rolls, immediately dismissed by the masses. But until that time, Kevin Spacey’s comments are reckless, dangerous, and puts real people in bad situations.
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