Kevin Spacey came out as gay during an apology to actor Anthony Rapp that followed accusations of sexual misconduct on the part of the House of Cards star – but the response has since been slammed by several celebrities and gay activists.
The 58-year-old issued a statement on Twitter after Star Trek actor Rapp accused Spacey of behaving in an inappropriate sexual manner towards him when he was just 14.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Rapp alleged that, during a party at Spacey’s apartment back in 1986, Spacey found him alone watching TV in a bedroom and proceeded to lay him on a nearby bed and lie on top of him.
Rapp was a cast member working alongside Spacey on a major Broadway production at the time. The Star Trek actor told Buzzfeed he, “still to this day can’t wrap my head around so many aspects of it”, adding: “It’s just deeply confusing to me.”
Spacey’s statement, responding to the allegations, read:
“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 own him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate, drunken behavior [sic], and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
The House of Cards actor also took the opportunity to come out as gay:
“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 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 [sic].”
The comments have not been as well received as he might have hoped though with Rose McGowan, one of the actresses who has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse and harassment, among those to hit out as Spacey’s comments and behaviour.
“Dear fellow media: Keep focus on #AnthonyRapp BE THE VICTIM’S VOICE. Help us level the playing field.” she Tweeted.
Dear fellow media:
Keep focus on #AnthonyRapp BE THE VICTIM'S VOICE. Help us level the playing field.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 30, 2017
A raft of comedians including Cameron Esposito, Billy Eichner, Guy Branum and Travon Free led the criticism online while Oscar winner Patricia Arquette thanked Rapp for coming forward.
Just wanna be really fucking clear that being gay has nothing to do w/ going after underage folks
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) October 30, 2017
That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 30, 2017
The classiest way to come out of the closet is as a PR smokescreen to distract people from the fact that you tried to molest a child.
— Guy Branum (@guybranum) October 30, 2017
Can't believe I'm saying this in 2017 but here it goes:
Being gay is not an excuse for trying to molest children. pic.twitter.com/5mA4o0r7xm
— Travon Free (@Travon) October 30, 2017
Thank you for your courage.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) October 30, 2017
Several leading gay activists and writers also condemned Spacey’s comments and the suggestion underage sexual misconduct was in any way linked to being homosexual.
Kevin Spacey: My sexuality is none of your biz.
Anthony Rapp: Kevin Spacey assaulted me when I was 14.
Kevin Spacey: I’m a proud gay man!
— Lara (@LarzMarie) October 30, 2017
SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NOT ABOUT SEXUALITY. SEXUAL ASSAULT IS ABOUT POWER. SAY IT WITH ME, PLEASE. #KevinSpacey
— Jordan Gavaris (@JordanGavaris) 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
I keep rereading this statement and getting angrier. Coming out is a beautiful part of being gay. Attaching it to this vileness is so wrong.
— realMarkHarris (@MarkHarrisNYC) October 30, 2017
This whole Kevin Spacey situation reminds me that queerness is still more shocking than sexual violence to far too many people.
— Raquel Willis 🕷 (@RaquelWillis_) October 30, 2017
It’s unclear what the future now holds for Spacey. In one Tweet, McGowan suggested the actor’s career could be damaged beyond repair as a result of the claims.
Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it’s your turn to cry, that’s why we’ve gotta say goodbye. #ROSEARMY
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 30, 2017
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.