Coming on the back of a tidal wave of revelations about the harassment and abuse of women in Hollywood, Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp has accused House of Cards star Kevin Spacey of traumatising him at a party in New York in 1986.
Speaking to BuzzFeed, he alleges that Spacey took him to a nightclub when he was just 14 followed by an invitation to a gathering at his Manhattan apartment.
After everyone else had left, Rapp said Spacey picked him up “like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold” and laid down on top of him. After initially freezing, Rapp said he was able to “squirm” away and run into the bathroom.
In response, Spacey released a bizarre rambling statement where he apologises “for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour”.
But then, in an outrageous twist, he goes on to apparently draw strange and offensive correlations between his sexuality and the allegation of sexual misconduct, perhaps in an effort to muddy the waters.
He said: “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy.
“As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women.
“I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”
So from one gay man to another, I’ve come up with a handy checklist of things Kevin can do and the important things he should know:
Dear Kevin Spacey,
1. Withdraw your bullshit non-apology. There is NO EXCUSE for sexual assault and harassment
Kevin Spacey, you are an intelligent man. You know there is NOTHING about being gay that makes you more likely to abuse 14-year-olds.
Even decades ago, when it was harder to come out, there were millions of LGBT+ people all over the world who would never have dreamt of abusing or assaulting anyone.
All your statement does it dredge up the worst stereotypes that gay men are predators and sexual deviants.
Seriously, coming out to distract from this allegation is offensive and harmful to the LGBT+ community.
And I’m not the only gay person to speak out about your ridiculous Twitter statement.
LGBT+ activist Dan Savage said: “Nope to Kevin Spacey’s statement. Nope. There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child.”
And gay comedian and actor Billy Eichner added: “Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out.”
Yes, you were raised in a different time but just like it wasn’t OK to describe Harvey Weinstein as “an old dinosaur learning new ways”, this statement too stinks of self-centered nonsense.
2. Being gay is not a choice
One of the particularly puzzling things about your statement is the line: “I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”
Oh Kevin. Being gay is not a choice. This is very basic stuff.
Perpetuating the lie that being gay is a lifestyle choice is a gift to right-wing, religious bigots like the extremists in the Republican Party in America or the DUP in the UK.
3. Being gay is still fucking hard. Your statement is a harmful distraction
Sexual violence affects every demographic and every community – including LGBT+ people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals.
And even in modern London, being gay is still fucking hard. I’ve been heckled walking down the road with my boyfriend. I still get nervous holding his hand in public and worry about booking hotel rooms when we go away together.
That’s why your statement is so offensive and so harmful.
Not only does it detract from Anthony Rapp’s story, but it distracts from the suffering that LGBT+ people live with every day.
4. Gay men have always struggled (and still do) so if you truly care, get involved and help make things better
From pink badges during in the Holocaust to the modern concentration camps in Chechnya, gay men (along with other minority groups) have been dealt a pretty shitty hand in life.
But you are a wealthy, white man with immense privilege. There is a huge amount you could do to make things better.
As we speak, gay men are still being hunted in Chechnya for their sexuality.
Just the other day, a source at the Russian LGBT+ Network, who can’t be named for security reasons, told me: “Citizens of Russia [in Chechnya] are being kidnapped, tortured and killed without any attention of the authorities to this situation, which we identify as a crime against humanity.”
Kevin, withdraw your misguided statement and open your eyes to the suffering of LGBT+ people in the world.
And do it now.