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Kevin Spacey shouldn’t confuse sexual assault with sexuality

There is never an appropriate time to connect sexual assault with sexuality. News broke over the weekend that actor Kevin Spacey, known for his role in Netflix’s House of Cards, allegedly made sexual advances towards Star Wars Discovery actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was 14.

The incident took place almost 32 years ago when Spacey was 26 and hosted a post-show Broadway gathering. Rapp was a child actor at the time and they were both performing on shows. Rapp attended the party at Spacey’s apartment and, being a child, he was bored socializing with adults. Rapp said he found a bedroom and started watching television. It is alleged that Spacey appeared in the bedroom doorway, visibly drunk, long after the guests were gone.

“He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold . But I don’t, like, squirm away initially because I’m like, What’s going on? And then he lays down on top of me. He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp told the press.

Rapp said that, at the time, he knew that Spacey’s advancements were sexual and he was able to remove himself and left the apartment.

Not long after the accusations were made, Spacey posted a statement on his social media saying he was “beyond horrified” to hear of Rapp’s account of that evening. Spacey then went on to say he owes Rapp a sincere apology if he did behave in the manner in which he was accused. He said he was extremely drunk and did not remember the incident.  Spacey’s apology was barely a paragraph long. In the same statement, he went on to address his own personal life, using this assault as an opportunity to highlight his normally quiet personal life.

Spacey said “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.”

In just a few sentences, Spacey was able to purposely dismiss the fact that he was accused of making sexual advances to a child and, worse, use the incident as an opportunity to come out of the closet. It is insulting and disrespectful to the LGBTQ community to use your sexuality as an excuse for wild drunken behaviour and deeply disturbing allegations of trying to have sex with a minor.

There is already a (very untrue) stigma surrounding sexual promiscuity associated with the LGBTQ community, despite the fact that lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals. Spacey’s “apology” further perpetuates this stigma, creating a correlation between sexuality and sexual violence that does not exist. This is dangerous and cowardly, especially coming from a man who now identifies as gay.

Spacey’s coming out was poorly timed and comes off as a poor cover-up for his inexcusable actions 32 years ago.  Since the news broke, Netflix has cancelled House of Cards after next season and Spacey’s  International Emmy Founder’s Award has been revoked. Many in and out of Hollywood shared their views on Spacey after this situation has come to light.

Comment below with your thoughts.