In a time when sexual assault and sexual harassment are finally becoming vocal topics in Hollywood, another prominent celebrity is joining Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly in the shameful club of sexual predators. This time, it is Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe winner Kevin Spacey.
One of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, Spacey came under the burning spotlight after Buzzfeed published an article in which Broadway actor Anthony Rapp confessed that Spacey made unwelcoming advances on him in 1986 when both were working in different Broadway plays. In 1986, Spacey was 26 years old, while Rapp was only 14.
Spacey did not take long to respond and issued a meticulously crafted statement apologizing to Rapp the next day, blaming the whole situation on “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” and eventually coming out as a gay man. The next day Netflix, in a very savvy move, made an announcement that its hit show “House of Cards,” which stars Spacey as the power-hungry misanthrope Frank Underwood, would end after its sixth season.
More allegations have started coming from various places, including from Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss’ son Harry, who claimed that Spacey sexually harassed him while his father was still in the room, as well as from employees of The Old Vic Theatre, where Spacey was the artistic director. Allegations have even come from the set of “House of Cards.”
Netflix realized that it needs to take further action and has halted the production of the last season until further creative decisions regarding the character of Frank are taken. In a separate statement, the streaming company also stated that it would not be involved in any production of the show if it still included Spacey. Netflix also cancelled the production of Gore, a biopic about Gore Vidal which was supposed to star Spacey as the lead. The production company TriStar Pictures also issued a statement that a Ridley Scott film involving Spacey, All the Money in the World, would be pulled from its closing night slot at the American Film Institute Festival.
In another detailed statement, Spacey’s publicist announced that the actor is “taking time to seek evaluation and treatment.” The fact that these events have happened over a very short period of time, as opposed to the situation with O’Reilly that had being going on for months, demonstrates that the industry has started to take the allegations of sexual harassment more seriously. There is also a visibly striking difference between how such situations are handled in liberal and conservative media.
One of the most problematic issues with the whole situation is the fact that Spacey and his team of publicists used his coming out as a way of justifying his pedophilic actions. The LGBTQ community has always fought, and is still fighting, false stigmas associated with such inappropriate behaviors. For Spacey to use his sexuality as a shield for his problems, at the expense of countless people who fought for the right to come out gracefully, is insulting. Hopefully, this will be a lesson learned that from now on, such actions will be neither tolerated nor normalized.