Kevin Spacey’s coming out sparks controversy

Sarah Miller

Kevin Spacey has received full condemnation from the LGBT community for his choice to come out in the midst of sexual assault allegations.

Spacey, best known for his staring role in “House of Cards,” has recently been embroiled in allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, several involving minors. 

The first person to accuse Spacey of sexual assault was “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp, who alleges that Spacey attempted to sexually assault him at a party in 1986 when Rapp was only 14-years-old. Rapp chose to come forward with his story in response to the similar Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations in recent news as a means to further the conversation about sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood. 

Spacey issued a public apology soon after Rapp came forward. However, it was much less of an apology and acknowledgment of wrong-doing and more of a thinly-veiled diversion tactic. He made the choice to come out as a gay man in his so-called apology to Rapp, blaming his sexuality for his actions. 

This not only feeds the dangerous stereotype that queer men are sexual predators, but also distracts from the horrendous crime that he has allegedly committed. 

A celebrity coming out would normally be celebrated and welcomed with open arms into the LGBT community, but in choosing to use his coming out as a scape goat for sexually assaulting and harassing others, Spacey has effectively alienated himself from the entire community as well as the rest of the world.

In the first paragraph of Spacey’s official statement on Twitter, he referred to the alleged assault as “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” and also claims that he has no memory of this specific encounter. Coming forward with sexual assault allegations can re-traumatize victims and can feel like reliving the moment over again. By downplaying sexual assault as a simple, drunken mistake that he has no memory of not only trivializes the trauma that Rapp has likely lived with for years, but relieves Spacey of responsibility.

The second paragraph of the apology is what has sparked the most outrage from the LGBT community and the world at large. Spacey chose to come out as a gay man, when in previous years he has kept his sexuality and personal relationships private. When accused of a heinous sexual crime, though, he conveniently decides to confirm rumors of him having been a closeted gay man and try to elicit sympathy from the public.

Spacey has received swift backlash for the flimsy diversion tactic. Faith Choyce, comedian, made a tweet criticizing Spacey for his scapegoating. 

“I’ve been very very gay and very very drunk many many many times but never hit on a child so Kevin Spacey needs a better apology,” Choyce said.

Associating pedophilia with being gay perpetrates a toxic, outdated stereotype that all homosexual persons are also sexual predators. This particular stereotype came to light when the transgender bathroom issue became a highly debated topic in recent years.

No matter a person’s sexuality, gender or age people are experiencing high numbers of sexual assault and harassment in the film and entertainment industry. This should no longer go ignored or normalized.

It has been made abundantly clear that celebrity culture needs serious reform. The first step towards fixing the problem is acknowledging past transgressions and dealing with them. Only after Hollywood addresses its past and current culture of sexual assault and harassment can it hope to forge a better future.