As you may have already heard, a prominent actor recently accused another prominent actor of targeting him sexually more than 30 years ago -- when the alleged victim was just 14-years-old, and the alleged would-be abuser was 26. Anthony Rapp, of Rent and Star Trek fame, says House of Cards and Usual Suspects star Kevin Spacey sexually attacked him at a party at his home in 1986. Buzzfeed first reported the allegation, in disturbing detail:
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp is publicly alleging for the first time that in 1986, Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over 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. According to public records, Spacey was 26. Rapp was 14...Spacey, he recalled, “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.” Rapp doesn't remember Spacey saying anything to him. Instead, Rapp said, “He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don't, like, squirm away initially, because I'm like, 'What's going on?' And then he lays down on top of me...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.” Rapp recalled this all happening — Spacey appearing at the door, coming into the room, picking him up, and putting him on the bed — in one clumsy action, with Spacey landing at a slight angle on top of him. He said Spacey “was, like, pressing into me,” and that he remembers Spacey “tightening his arms.” But while he can't recall exactly how long Spacey remained on top of him, Rapp said he was able to “squirm” away after a short period.
If you click through to the Buzzfeed piece, you'll see that they dug up some old photos of Rapp from the year in question. Clearly, this person could not have been mistaken for a consenting adult:
By the way, this is what Anthony Rapp looked like at age 14. He looked like the *child* that he was. pic.twitter.com/W61JgTRgEG— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 31, 2017
Rapp looked like a child. He was a child. Spacey was a 26-year-old adult man. At 26, most people have been out of college for four or five years; many are married with families. Some of the lame excuse-making I've seen floated on Spacey's behalf ("it was so long ago, and he was young himself, and had been drinking") cannot and should not fly. Confronted with this decades-old accusation, Spacey released the following statement on Twitter:
As I said on Kennedy's Fox Business Network show last night, this is "unbelievable, infuriating bulls***." Spacey doesn't deny Rapp's story, offers a quasi/hypothetical apology, blames his drunkenness, and adds -- oh, by the way, I'm gay! "Cynical and selfish" doesn't quite cover it, but it's a start. People do all sorts of things when they've had too much to drink, but a grown adult doesn't 'accidentally' sexually assault a high school student, especially a very young-looking freshman-aged kid. And using one's gay identity as a shield to deflect a serious criminal allegation is truly disgusting. This was a craven effort to pull a Jim McGreevey. Spacey waved a shiny object in front of the media to mitigate the impact of a real scandal, using the occasion of Rapp's allegation to come out publicly as gay for the first time. His aim, it seems, was to manipulate the media to run with that headline, or at least direct a substantial amount of attention away from the charge against him. In some quarters, it worked:
MEDIA: Why doesn’t the public trust us?— Alex VanNess (@thealexvanness) October 30, 2017
ME: Because this... pic.twitter.com/4A8zOEmcGB
And presto, "famous celebrity accused of attempted sexual assault against a child," gets at least partially eclipsed by, "famous celebrity comes out as gay." What a feel-good story. ABC's "emotional tweet" framing was especially gross. Sure, Spacey may have fed age-old ugly smears and stereotypes about gay men -- but, hey, at least he managed his own personal crisis. Thanks for nothing, Kevin. Then again, it may be a bumpy road ahead for Spacey, whose signature project has been cancelled, and against whom additional accusations may be forthcoming. It seems as though Spacey's proclivities were something of an open secret -- there's that term again -- in Hollywood, as evidenced by years-old jokes like this, and reactions like this (content warning):
u don't remember the incident - 30 years ago? - fuck u kevin - like Harvey we all knew about u - I hope more men come forward @KevinSpacey— ROSIE (@Rosie) October 30, 2017
Parting thought: Now that the Weinstein mess has opened the floodgates on Hollywood's culture of sexual depravity and exploitation (his story keeps getting worse), will the heavily-rumored abuse of children -- boys and girls alike -- by a cluster of powerful men start to spill out into the open?