Kevin Spacey’s statement issued in response to allegations he made aggressive, unwanted overtures decades ago toward then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp seems to have made a bad situation worse.
Spacey, who would have been 26 at the time, did not deny the allegations that Rapp, a star of the “Star Trek: Discovery” series and Broadway and film versions of “Rent,” detailed in an interview with BuzzFeed News. Instead Spacey’s statement, posted via his official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts says he is sorry for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” if Rapp’s version of events are indeed accurate.
Spacey also used the opportunity to announce that after having relationships with both men and women over the years, he’s decided to “choose now to live as a gay man.”
“Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out, actor Billy Eichner tweeted in response.
“American Idol” alum Clay Aiken let Spacey have it, too: “Hey Kevin Spacey you can choose to act like a pervert; you can’t ‘choose to be gay,” he posted with a “face palm” emoji.
Spacey stars in the Netflix hit “House of Cards,” now filming its sixth and final season. In a statement Netflix officials say they’re “deeply troubled” by the allegations, met with the show’s cast and crew to make sure everyone feels “safe and supported” and noted that Spacey’s not on set at the moment.
Author and commentator Eric Schiffer, CEO of ReputationManagementConsultants.com wasn’t too impressed with Spacey’s statement but doesn’t think the scandal will end his career.
“In Hollywood backlots, where many lionize Roman Polansky despite deranged and disgusting acts against a 14-year-old child, Kevin Spacey’s allegation won’t cause most producers to be out for his scalp nor incinerate Spacey’s film and TV stardom,” he said. “Make no mistake: Hollywood’s passion is selling stars.”
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“Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis posted. “This isn’t a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp and those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that.”
Rapp and Spacey, who met in 1986 when they both were stage actors working in New York, wound up alone in Spacey’s apartment after a late-night party.
“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”
He said he managed to “squirm” away and never spoke to Spacey again, encountering him briefly just one other time when they passed each other in a doorway. He also said that a lawyer told him he had no case, but that he decided to come forward anyway following the revelations stemming from The New York Times and New Yorker’s explosive reports detailing allegations numerous women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow, made against Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein.
The Weinstein scandal precipitated allegations against high-profile figures in other industries.
MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin was dismissed from the network after five women accused him of sexual harassment during his time working at ABC, Penguin scotched plans for book about the 2016 election and Showtime scrubbed him from its show “The Circus.”
Journalist Leon Wieseltier is gone from The Atlantic’s masthead after allegations he harassed numerous women during his years with The New Republic.
And Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez was fired after allegations lodged by Ramirez’ former girlfriend.
Spacey boasts a long list of credits including the summer action film “Baby Driver,” which was set in and filmed in Atlanta, and the 1997 film adaptation of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” set and filmed in Savannah. He received a modicum of industry support from Kim Richards, CEO and chairman of Allied Artists, who posted on Twitter, “If true, acting on impulse while inebriated speaks to over-indulgence, not predatory behavior. You’re good and decent, deserving forgiveness.”
Richards followed that comment up with a clarification: “I’m not excusing anything. If he did it, it was clearly wrong and can’t be excused, but it was 30 years ago while admittedly drunk.”
Most response took great exception to Spacey’s comments:
“House of Cards” cast member Beau Willimon posted a statement saying he never witnessed any inappropriate behavior but supports Rapp’s courage: