Broadway and television actor Anthony Rapp came forward Sunday night with a statement about how Kevin Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted him at age 14.
Spacey’s response completely deflected the initial claim, saying he was probably drunk, and then used the opportunity to come out as gay.
While the situation is quite nuanced, Spacey’s actions are incredibly harmful to Rapp, the LGBT community and all survivors of sexual assault – specifically those who are underage.
Spacey’s first deflection in his apology was that he was drunk and does not remember the encounter. This is absolutely unacceptable and in no way excuses underage sexual assault. His second deflection was that he was closeted and has chosen now to come out as gay.
In using his apology as an opportunity to come out as a gay man, Spacey tried to distract attention away from his assault and change the media focus to the fact that he is gay.
While it is sad he had to spend the majority of his life in the closet, his strategic statement undervalues his horrific actions and simultaneously conflates it with being gay, which paints the entire LGBT community in a bad light.
Gay men already fight against the stigma of being predatory, and Spacey’s actions lead directly to this stigmatization.
His sexuality is irrelevant to the situation, and he has carefully acted so he faces as little accountability as possible.
Author Mark Harris tweeted, “Coming out is a beautiful part of being gay. Attaching it to this vileness is so wrong.”
Rapp, an openly gay man himself, has been an extremely outspoken activist for the LGBT community throughout his career.
After Rapp’s statement, others have come forward claiming they knew about Spacey’s actions. For example, literary agent Connor Goldsmith tweeted, “One of the very first things I was told as a young gay man working in media, nearly a decade ago, was that Kevin Spacey preys on teen boys.”
Spacey holds an immense amount of power in Hollywood. He has starred in many films and TV shows, even hosting the 2017 Tony Awards. Rapp does not hold the same kind of power and influence as Spacey.
While he is very famous in the Broadway world and currently stars in "Star Trek: Discovery," he is overall much less well-known than Spacey. Many fans of Spacey immediately rejected Rapp’s statement, evidenced by the replies to Rapp's tweet.
Some people suggest Rapp does not remember, is lying for attention or is jealous of Spacey’s career. This is a sad but true representation of what sexual assault victims go through when they come forward.
Rapp is an inspiration to his fans, the LGBT community and people in general.
Coming forward about his assault was an act of courage, and above all else, his voice should be amplified in this situation.
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