“This conflation has been used against us since time immemorial, the blurring of homosexuality with paedophilia and the suggestion that children are not safe around gay men.”
There are so many things wrong with the ‘apology’ Kevin Spacey made to Anthony Rapp for his alleged sexual assault of the actor when he was 14 years old, it’s hard to know where to begin.
There’s the fact that he says at the outset he has “no memory” of the event, which casts a shade of uncertainty over it, and then uses the words “drunken behavior,” which also seems to make light of the alleged assault, as if his being drunk might somehow excuse it and the anguish it has caused.
There’s the fact that he’s seemingly tried re-pivot the story for his own benefit by making it a star’s redemptive coming out story rather than the story of an assault on a minor. And the fact that he uses the words “I choose now to live as a gay man,” which suggests an element of choice in being gay, not to mention a note of bravery in declaring this ‘choice’.
The truth is that for his own reasons Kevin Spacey spent a whole career in the closet, never coming out even though in doing so he might have helped foster a culture of normalcy, which in turn would have positively affected young gay lives. Spacey is only choosing to come out now, when he thinks it might help himself rather than anyone else, at a time when a Pandora’s Box has been opened on sexual abuse in Hollywood, and a light has been shone on his own sexual predation.
This suggestion has been used to demonise us
But the most troubling fact of all in his apology is the conflation of that apology with his coming out, which also conflates his homosexuality with his reported predatory behaviour towards a male minor. This conflation has been used against gay men since time immemorial, the blurring of homosexuality with paedophilia and the suggestion that children are not safe around gay men.
For centuries this suggestion has been used to demonise us, to encourage abuse of us, to isolate and control us, and it continues to be used in countries in the modern world where gay men are imprisoned, tortured and murdered. If we think we’re free of it here in Ireland, we only have to look back to our last presidential election to know how this suggestion can still be used to debase and disenfranchise gay men.
By trying to sell this tale of alleged sexual abuse of a minor as his own good news coming out story, Kevin Spacey has fed into that hatred. He has given people who hate gay people further excuses for their hatred. He’s underpinned a disgusting lie to put a mask on a disgusting story.
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
Kevin Spacey may say he’s choosing to live his life as a gay man in public, but that cannot be tied up with his alleged assault on a child. There is no correlation.
If he thought the LGBT+ community was going to applaud him for his ‘bravery’, he was badly mistaken. He’s not brave; he’s a coward who is pathetically trying to worm his way out of his own very difficult situation, and he doesn’t seem to care who he throws under the bus in the way he’s doing it.
Instead, we should applaud Anthony Rapp for his bravery. Unlike Spacey, he has always lived openly as a gay actor, and now he is bravely joining the voices who are at last speaking out against unwanted sexual advances. Sadly, I have a feeling it’s the tip of another iceberg.
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