Tuesday Oct 31, 2017
NEW YORK: Kevin Spacey sparked a furious backlash on Monday after being accused — in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal — of making sexual advances on a 14-year-old boy more than 30 years ago.
Despite the 58-year-old stage and cinema actor being a double Oscar winner and — most recently — the star of the US version of House of Cards, his status as one of the finest actors of his generation with a glittering stable of career credits seems to be ruined.
On Monday, he came under a torrent of fire over claims from fellow actor Anthony Rapp that he "made a sexual advance" at a party 31 years ago when the latter was underage and was accused of trying to deflect the story by finally confirming what has been an open secret in Hollywood for years — that he is gay.
Rapp, 46, told Buzzfeed that in 1986, while both he and Spacey — who would have been 26 at the time — were performing on Broadway, Spacey invited the then 14-year-old to a party at his New York home.
Rapp said he was in Spacey's bedroom watching TV when Spacey, "kind of swaying" and apparently drunk, came in after all the other guests had left, picked him up, put him on the bed, and lay on top of him.
"He was trying to seduce me," Rapp told Buzzfeed. "I don't know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually."
Rapp said he squirmed free after a brief period of time and went into the bathroom. Shortly after, he left Spacey's apartment and went home.
Spacey responded within hours, posting on his Twitter account at midnight East Coast time that he was "beyond horrified" by Rapp's account.
He claimed he did not remember the encounter but added, "I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."
He went on to say that Rapp's accusation "encouraged me to address other things about my life," and that "I know that there are stories out there about me".
"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."
But the online backlash was swift from celebrities and members of the LGBT community, as hints emerged that Spacey may yet face other accusers.
"Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it's your turn to cry, that's why we've gotta say goodbye," tweeted Rose McGowan, one of the first actresses to accuse disgraced Hollywood producer Weinstein of rape.
"No no no no no! You do not get to 'choose' to hide under the rainbow!" said comedian and actress Wanda Sykes, who came out as lesbian in 2008. "Kick rocks!"
"There's no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child," tweeted advice columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage.
Speaking about Spacey's decade-long stint as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London, Victoria Featherstone — the artistic director of London's Royal Court Theatre — told the BBC on Monday that she was aware of stories about him.
"I think that many people in the theatre and in the creative industries have been aware of many stories of many people over a lot of years, and Kevin Spacey would be one of the people that people have had concerns about, yes," she told Radio 4.
Former Boston television news anchor Heather Unruh wrote on October 13 that she was a Spacey fan "until he assaulted a loved one," whom she did not name.
On Monday, outspoken comedian Rosie O'Donnell likened Spacey to Weinstein.
"Like Harvey we all knew about u — I hope more men come forward," she tweeted. "I heard he was a slimy closeted creep," she followed up.
Rapp said he felt compelled to speak out after the recent deluge of accusations against Weinstein sparked an examination of abuses committed by powerful men in the entertainment industry.
Accusing Spacey was "not to simply air a grievance," he said, "but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent."
Actress Asia Argento — who says she was harassed by Weinstein — has unveiled a list of 82 women who have accused the disgraced producer of misconduct including rape, abuse, and harassment.
Weinstein denies non-consensual sex but his career is in tatters.