We need to talk about Kevin Spacey
The LGBTQ community has a major problem with actor and celebrity Kevin Spacey, after the latter was accused of making sexual advances to a younger fellow actor, Anthony Rapp.
In response, LGBT proponents, advocates, and celebrities were quick to slam Spacey for trying to link homosexuality with abuse in order to divert attention.
How not to come out like Kevin Spacey
Rapp was recently interviewed in Buzzfeed wherein he detailed an incident in which Spacey made sexual advances to the actor when he was 14 years old.
Unfortunately, Spacey tied his apology to his coming out– which immediately drew the fury of the LGBT community.
Leading the criticism against Spacey from the celebrities was actress Rose McGowan, who accused him of coming out in order to excuse making a pass at Rapp.
Actor Zachary Quinto said that Spacey’s statement is a “calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusation that he attempted to molest [Rapp].”
Meanwhile, comedian and LGBT-rights activist Wanda Sykes was more emphatic on Twitter: “No no no no no! You do not get to ‘choose’ to hide under the rainbow! Kick rocks!”
This is not about Kevin Spacey’s coming out
From LGBT advocates, Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, tweeted: “Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault.”
“This isn’t a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp & those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that,” Ellis said.
LGBT high-profile campaigner Peter Tatchell told The Guardian: “It is tragic that it has taken allegations of sexual harassment for Kevin Spacey to finally come out as gay, after not disclosing his sexuality for decades.”
“It is even worse that he mixes up his sexuality with inappropriate behaviour. His gayness is irrelevant. It’s his actions that have prompted concern,” Tatchell said.
Likewise, a spokesperson for the LGBT campaign group Stonewall said Spacey’s “sexual orientation bears no relevance to the serious allegations he is facing, and to conflate these things is extremely damaging.”
Owen Jones, a columnist for The Guardian, was more scathing: “In the coming days, weeks and months, I bet you that homophobic bigots will use Spacey’s case to press the case that LGBTQ people threaten children.”
“It will be used to justify oppression and mental and physical abuse. There will be those who have yet to come out who will be deterred from doing so. And all because of Spacey’s statement,” Jones warned.
Kevin Spacey and his ‘open secret’
Tyler Coates, writing for Esquire, noted that Spacey’s sexuality has been “sort of an open secret in Hollywood for a long time– so much so that he joked about it himself twice during the 2017 Tony Awards, which he hosted.”
However, Coates said that Spacey has refused to discuss his sexuality in public for a long time, which is why his timing in coming out is dubious.
“There’s an absurdity in responding to allegations of a sexual misconduct by passing it off as a drunken encounter and using it to come out of the closet. Yet the latter is the focus of many headlines this morning, proving that Spacey’s team has already successfully taken control of the narrative and shifted its focus,” he added.
Michelangelo Signorile pointed out in the Huffington Post that Spacey “has angrily attacked anyone who has raised the question, even in this day and age when so many of us who are queer see nothing wrong with asking about it.”
Signorile noted that “closeted, powerful gay and bisexual men can often engage in sexual harassment and predatory behavior, and often in the workplace. They’re trapped by their self-imposed closet, not able to go out publicly to meet gay people. And yet they’re able use their power to prey upon those– sometimes closeted gay men themselves–who work for them.”
Lastly, Michael Schulman in the New Yorker referenced Spacey’s famous character in Netflix’s House of Cards: “Read cynically, Spacey’s statement was a misdirection technique worthy of Frank Underwood, designed to supplant Rapp’s allegation with his own coming out—the type of celebrity revelation that the media is used to celebrating.”