Kevin Spacey apology, coming out slammed as 'distraction' from alleged sexual advance on minor
Netflix 'deeply troubled' by allegation against Spacey; reveals House of Cards to end after season 6
It was an apology that managed to trigger even more anger.
Kevin Spacey's statement of regret on Sunday after being accused of trying to seduce former child actor Anthony Rapp kicked up a backlash when the two-time Oscar winner then chose to come out of the closet, prompting many to question the timing and accusing the actor of trying to change the subject.
"Kevin Spacey really tried to throw the entire LGBT community under a bus and call it solidarity in an effort to mask his personal failings," wrote civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson on Twitter.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay rights group GLAAD, said in a statement that the story was really about unwanted sexual advances on Rapp not Spacey's sexuality. "Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault," she said.
This isn't a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp & those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances—@sarahkateellis
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.—@fakedansavage
The controversy began when Rapp told BuzzFeed News that he was attending a party at Spacey's apartment in 1986 when an inebriated 26-year-old Spacey picked up the then 14-year-old, placed him on a bed and climbed on top of him. Rapp was able to get away without any physical harm. Both were appearing in separate Broadway theatre productions at the time.
Spacey responded on Twitter by saying he doesn't remember the alleged encounter but if he acted the way Rapp alleges, "I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour."
The House of Cards actor then said Rapp's story "encouraged" him to address long-simmering rumours about his sexuality. He wrote that he's had romantic relationships with both men and women in the past but is now living "as a gay man" and wanted to be honest so he could examine "my own behaviour." Requests for comment went unanswered Monday.
The upcoming sixth season of House of Cards, which recently began filming with an eye to a 2018 premiere on Netflix, will be the final one for the series, the streaming giant announced Monday afternoon.
"Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night's news concerning Kevin Spacey," the companies said in a joint statement.
"In response to last night's revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time."
Spacey's two-paragraph statement issued Sunday included an apology in the first paragraph for a 31-year-old alleged assault and a self-outing in the second. It struck many as an odd time for Spacey to address his sexuality.
Worse, he seemed to make a connection between being gay and sexual abuse of minors.
No no no no no! You do not get to “choose” to hide under the rainbow! Kick rocks! <a href="https://t.co/xJDGAxDjxz">https://t.co/xJDGAxDjxz</a>—@iamwandasykes
That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.—@billyeichner
"You do not get to 'choose' to hide under the rainbow!" comedian Wanda Sykes, an outspoken member of the LGBT community, wrote on Twitter. Comedian Billy Eichner also criticized the move: "Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out."
How dare you implicate us all in this—@rilaws
Coming out as a gay man is not the same thing as coming out as someone who preyed on a 14-year-old. Conflating those things is disgusting—@rilaws
Rapp's allegations come a few weeks after dozens of women came forward to accuse movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault, triggering similar accusations across workplaces. In fact, Rapp cited the many Weinstein accusers for the reason he recounted his encounter with Spacey.
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"I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me," he wrote on Twitter.
Rapp, perhaps best known for his Broadway role in Rent, currently stars in Star Trek: Discovery.
to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me. 2/3—@albinokid
Many Hollywood figures came to Rapp's side, including fellow Discovery co-star Wilson Cruz and Rose McGowan, one of the leading voices against sexual harassment in Hollywood, who said of Spacey: "It's your turn to cry."
Dear fellow media:<br><br>Keep focus on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AnthonyRapp?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AnthonyRapp</a> BE THE VICTIM'S VOICE. Help us level the playing field.—@rosemcgowan
Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it’s your turn to cry, that’s why we’ve gotta say goodbye. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ROSEARMY?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ROSEARMY</a>—@rosemcgowan
Former House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, who also serves as the president of the Writers Guild of America, East, called Rapp's story "deeply troubling."
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, Willmon said: "During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off. That said, I take reports of such behaviour seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage."