As he faces the worst allegations he has faced in his career — that he attempted to seduce a minor — Kevin Spacey decides it’s time to shed his famously guarded privacy and come out as a gay man.
Actor Anthony Rapp, who rose to fame in the Broadway hit “Rent” and who is now starring in Star Trek Discovery, told Buzzfeed that in 1986 (when Rapp was 14 years old) Kevin Spacey, who was then 26 years old, befriended him while both actors were performing on Broadway. Buzzfeed says Spacey invited Rapp “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.”
The website reports that Rapp, who is now 46, “told no one about his experience, and he has never spoken with Spacey since. But as Spacey’s star began to rise through the 1990s and 2000s — including a Tony Award, two Oscars, a decadelong (sic) run as the creative director of the Old Vic theater in London, and six seasons and counting on the hit Netflix series House of Cards — Rapp’s frustration, anger, and incredulity with the sexual boundary he said Spacey crossed with him grew as well. Seeing Spacey now, ‘My stomach churns,’ Rapp said. ‘I still to this day can’t wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It’s just deeply confusing to me.'”
Within an hour of the article being posted it had gone viral and Spacey was forced to respond.
In his official statement Spacey claimed not to remember the incident but said that if he did do what Rapp has alleged then he owes him the “sincerest apology” for his “inappropriate” behavior.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m 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 for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all theses years,” he wrote in an image posted on Instagram and on Twitter.
“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 own 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 now chose to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior,” he continued.
Reaction to Spacey’s message was swift online.
Dan Savage took to Twitter to denounce the statement. “Nope to Kevin Spacey’s statement. Nope. There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that explains away assaulting a 14 year old child,” he wrote.
Other people pointed out that Rapp says Spacey ceased his aggression when told no. Others say that Spacey, who has been a closeted homosexual all of his life, would pursue a child at all shows multidimensional workings of the closet. Some questioned why Rapp did not go directly to Spacey before making the allegations public.
“It’s never easy to confront sexual aggressors at the moment of aggression. Something similar happened to me when I was 16. When I was older I realized I had been molested and so I confronted the man, my director. He was full of shame and apologized; that brought me closure. Maybe Rapp was not ready for that until now,” Jose Daniel Bort, a Venezuelan child star, said.
“When Kevin Spacey tries to turn child molestation allegations into a heartwarming coming out story. Oh, Hollywood.” said Alan Mastrangelo.
“Anthony Rapp: ‘Kevin Spacey tried to rape me.’ Media: ‘Kevin how do you respond?’ Spacey: ‘uuh…uuhh… Hey everyone I’m gay!'”
But lest we get distracted, Anthony Rapp is making a serious allegation about an issue that deserves attention.
The closet, as Anthony Rapp points out, is a dark place inhabited by powerful people who feel they can get away with anything.
“And not to simply air a grievance,” he told Buzzfeed about his motivations, “but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent. … I’m feeling really awake to the moment that we’re living in, and I’m hopeful that this can make a difference.”
Rapp’s revelations comes as Hollywood is engaged in a sort of coming out of it’s own as victims of Harvey Weinstein and others share harrowing stories of sexual aggression at the hands of people who wield power.
Karen Ocamb reports here.