Simran Gupta & Kaydee Donohoo
Amid allegations of sexual assault from Actor Anthony Rapp, Kevin Spacey chose his apology as the vehicle for coming out as gay. There is much to unpack, and much to be angry about.
It should not be missed that Spacey is trying to turn this into a “coming out story.” In his statement, he wrote, “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life… As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women.” Many media outlets, such as ABC News, have focused on his coming out as gay rather than the assault or harassment allegations against minors.
It is true that anyone coming out should not be overlooked. It is not the Voice’s place, nor is it anyone else’s, to question someone’s sexuality. That being said, you should be infuriated that Spacey is using his coming out as a vehicle to detract from these allegations. Many are also curious about timing, as Spacey once said that coming out was a line he “has never crossed and never will,” emphasizing that he wasn’t living a lie, just keeping his private life separate.
Kevin Spacey has essentially thrown the gay community under the bus with this tactic. His coming out isn’t just a shiny distraction from the allegations. Gay people, especially gay men, are now in danger from increased homophobia thanks to this. Homophobes will use this statement to express bigoted ideas, such as that gay men are all sexual predators, or were, or will be. Trying to seduce a young boy, or having any type of physical contact with a minor when the end goal is sex, does not stem from being gay.
News platforms are not innocent either. Why aren’t more journalists focusing on Rapp’s coming forward? Is this just the easier path for some news companies to take? Is this how to lessen the blow of finding out yet another once beloved celebrity has done unforgivable things? To save face when wanting to enjoy “American Beauty”? This dismisses the gravity of Rapp’s allegations against Spacey and does real harm.
Consider the young people who might listen to these narratives in the news cycle. Think of seeing a community vilified from the eyes of a teenager struggling to accept their identity. Think of how this will reach the straight teenagers who are concerned their gay peers are checking them out, and may make unwanted advances.
Coming out is something that should be a positive story. Coming out brings sympathy for a celebrity’s struggle towards their identity. Placing the Spacey allegations anywhere near this established narrative is disgusting. Any sympathy is dangerous here.
Attraction to minors is not and will never be an orientation. Attempting to behave in a sexual manner with a minor in no way plays a role in figuring out one’s sexual orientation. There is absolutely no excuse for Spacey’s past behavior, and his sexuality absolves him of nothing.