In a report/interview with Buzzfeed, Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp shared a harrowing moment in his young life where, as he says, Hollywood star and Broadway actor Kevin Spacey attempted to have sex with him when Rapp was 14 years old.
In a statement in response to the allegation, Spacey acknowledges that the encounter could have occurred, but that he doesn't remember it if it did. He then takes the opportunity to declare that he chooses "now to live as a gay man", putting to bed decades of rumour and speculation as to his sexuality.
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
But this story isn't about his coming out; at least not that way. This is still the story of how Spacey tried to engage in sexual relations with a minor.
What Spacey does here is the most epic of manipulations — not just of public opinion, but of the media, in an attempt to detract from the true core of this story: that he has allegedly tried to come onto at least one young man who was below the legal age of consent.
Many media outlets will make the entire story about his decision to come out, but that is not what we should be focusing on.
The fact of the matter is that being out has not been important to Spacey ever before in his career. When it may have actually helped other LGBTQ people to see someone like them be successful, Spacey chose to remain in the closet for the sake of his career and comfort in the very homophobic environment of Hollywood.
No, Kevin Spacey. You don't get to use your sexuality as a distraction from sexual assault.
You just threw the gay community under the bus.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) October 30, 2017
It is worth noting that Rapp has been openly gay for decades, and has used his position to help as a visible gay man however he can.
The bottom line is that Spacey deciding to come out now points to a sinister motive. By considering the context of the situation, it seems like he hoped it would distract the media away from the facts of the story by confirming something they all knew for years, but could never officially say or comment on.
Kevin Spacey has set gay rights back fifty years by a) conflating homosexuality with paedophilia and b) Saying that being gay is a "choice."
— Eden Adder Calvary (@EACalvary) October 30, 2017
If this indeed was his aim, it is beyond heinous. He callously uses a moment that some find to be a difficult or tumultuous event as a smokescreen for alleged proclivities and actions, and in doing so, wilfully throws the entire gay community under the bus for personal gain.
Oh wow. Kevin Spacey deflecting from attempting to molest a child by coming out as gay is the absolute pits.
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 30, 2017
His coming out statement not only belittles Rapp's allegations, but also actively uses two elements that have been conflated with homosexuality for years to detriment to the community and individuals living within: he suggests that being gay is a choice, and conflates homosexuality and paedophilia.
For the record, there is no connection between homosexuality and being attracted to children or adolescents, but it is a stigma that has haunted the gay community for decades. However, Spacey brings up the ugly spectre of this so-called connection again between the lines of his statement by pointedly not acknowledging the reality of the allegation — that he came onto an underage boy — and instead using his homosexuality to draw away from the truth of the matter. And the truth is, if these allegations are to be believed, that Spacey exhibited sexually predatory behavior against a minor — which is something quite independent of his nature as a gay man.
Kevin Spacey never had any use for the LGBT community until he needed to use us as a shield to try and deflect from his horrible actions
— David Beard 🏳️🌈 (@dwbeard) October 30, 2017
Of course, the LGBTQ+ community can see exactly what Spacey's aim was with this statement, and we are absolutely livid. The fact that he chose right now to express his sexuality speaks volumes. If being a part of the community didn't appeal to him before, we sure as hell do not care to be his barrier now.
Frankly, Spacey does not get to use being gay as a shield. He does not get to manipulate and hold up the LGBTQ+ community when it serves him, especially when it is to serve as avoidance from the real problem at hand.