FRONTLINES

SPACEY, THAT IS. And no bet­ter man to do it than his brother Randy. Here, in an exclusive and of­ten con­tro­ver­sial in­ter­view, the el­der sib­ling in the Fowler fam­ily talks about what it was like grow­ing up, in what has been de­scribed as a “house of hor­rors”

Hot Press - - Hot Press / 4121 / Contents - ARCHIVAL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY COUR­TESY OF RANDY FOWLER IN­TER­VIEW Ja­son O’Toole

In an exclusive and of­ten con­tro­ver­sial in­ter­view with Ja­son Toole, Kevin Spacey’s older brother, Randy Fowler, talks about what it was like grow­ing up, in what has been de­scribed as a “house of hor­rors”. In ad­di­tion, a Hot Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion into gay con­ver­sion ther­apy in Ire­land un­cov­ers a dis­turb­ing case, which pow­er­fully il­lus­trates the po­ten­tially harm­ful na­ture of the practice.

Plus McCann and The Hog

You’d be wrong if you thought Kevin Spacey’s older brother would want to act as some kind of an apol­o­gist for the fallen star. There’s an un­der­stand­able mix­ture of emo­tions run­ning through the man – anger, sad­ness, pity, em­pa­thy. But ex­cuses are off the agenda.

As some­one who has him­self suf­fered sex­ual abuse at the hands of the broth­ers’ pae­dophile fa­ther, Thomas Ge­of­frey Fowler, Randy knows the score. Ei­ther way, how­ever, he be­lieves there is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for what Kevin is ac­cused of do­ing. The two broth­ers haven’t been close since Kevin hit the big time. The se­cret life that Spacey led be­fore his house of cards came crash­ing down is a mys­tery to Randy.

How­ever, ask Randy about the kid that was Kevin Spacey Fowler – who grew up with him, in what he de­scribes as a “house of hor­rors” – and the flood­gates open. This is Randy’s first ma­jor in-depth in­ter­view since the scan­dal broke. Be­fore now, he’s made a few brief me­dia ap­pear­ances and given a cou­ple of short in­ter­views to tabloids. But Randy hasn’t been happy with how his story has been pre­sented.

“I think you are go­ing to have a bunch of good new in­for­ma­tion,” Randy says.

He has just fin­ished a mem­oir about his or­deal of be­ing sex­u­ally abused, which he co-wrote with Bon­nie Soto. It’ll un­doubt­edly be a best­seller if it’s half as re­veal­ing as this in­ter­view.

Ja­son O’Toole: Kevin was pil­lo­ried for how he pub­licly came out… Randy B Fowler: I don’t like the idea of how he came out of the closet. He used com­ing out of the closet as a de­flec­tion tool against al­le­ga­tions of him (at­tempt­ing to) sex­u­ally abuse a 14-year-old mi­nor child. Hello! That means that he’s off the reser­va­tion and needs new rep­re­sen­ta­tion. I couldn’t even be­lieve it. I don’t un­der­stand why he just didn’t lie and say, ‘I don’t re­mem­ber. I was in a drunken stu­por that night. I’m re­ally sorry.’ So, his state­ment was just be­yond be­lief. I was like, ‘What is this? A midnight crazed out Twit­ter thing?’

Did you al­ways know Kevin was gay?

I sensed it back when we were kids. But it wasn’t any­thing that re­ally mat­tered to me.

Did you ever ask Kevin about his sex­u­al­ity? I did when he came to visit my mother in 1989. We were walk­ing down the street, smok­ing a doo­bie to­gether. I said, ‘What’s

with all these al­le­ga­tions about your sex­u­al­ity? What’s the real deal?’ He gave me this vague, cryptic an­swer. Kevin didn’t even con­sider him­self ho­mo­sex­ual, bi­sex­ual or het­ero­sex­ual – he just con­sid­ered him­self sex­ual!

There’s a big dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing ‘sex­ual’ and be­ing at­tracted to mi­nors, isn’t there?

Yeah. I’m shocked. The al­le­ga­tions against my brother are scary. That’s a hard pill to swal­low. I’m sick over it.

You’re plan­ning to pub­lish a book about how you were sex­u­ally abused by your fa­ther. Why wait till now to tell your story? The peo­ple han­dling me were afraid of Kevin Spacey’s PR ma­chine. They got cold feet. I sat on the book. I’m try­ing to get a book out on child abuse – but I would love to have a re­la­tion­ship with my brother. Can’t I have both things at the same time?

How long did your fa­ther abuse you for? It went on for years. It was one of his weekly de­lights. It al­ways hap­pened after school, when my mother was at work.

Is de­scrib­ing it as a house of hor­rors

ap­pro­pri­ate?

Yes. In­side – with the emo­tions, the se­crets, the lies and the de­cep­tion. It was a bizarre house of hor­rors. It was all so Vic­to­rian and there were rooms you couldn’t even go in to sit in. It was in­sane.

“Kevin didn’t even con­sider him­self ho­mo­sex­ual, bi­sex­ual or het­ero­sex­ual – he just con­sid­ered him­self sex­ual!”

Did you ever think about killing your fa­ther? Oh, it’s in the book. Yes. I sat in the closet with a loaded luger that he had brought back from World War II. I fig­ured out how to load it. I was go­ing to blow his ass away. I sat there all sweaty palmed with that gun in my hand: a lit­tle 14-year-old kid in the closet. And if he would’ve opened up that door, I can guar­an­tee you it would’ve been all over. Not too sure how many bul­lets I would’ve fired. But I’m glad he didn’t.

You’ve said your fa­ther – or ‘the crea­ture’ as you call him – did not abuse Kevin be­cause you pro­tected him. Is it not pos­si­ble that he raped Kevin?

I hon­estly don’t know. I spent my child­hood try­ing to es­cape ‘the crea­ture’ and pro­tect my lit­tle brother. Could I have been there all the time to pro­tect him? My ef­forts may have been for noth­ing. The al­le­ga­tions against my brother are scary. To think that I could’ve spent an en­tire child­hood pro­tect­ing my brother from noth­ing! It shows how cruel life is.

Did your mother ever try to stop it?

I’m scream­ing out and she’s bang­ing on the door – this was the first and only time she ever tried to in­ter­vene. She was bang­ing on the door and go­ing, ‘What’s go­ing on in there?’ I’m scream­ing go­ing, ‘Help! Mother, help!’ And all of a sud­den the bang­ing stopped and the si­lence was deaf­en­ing. She walked away. Just like that. A mo­ment in time while the sun is shin­ing in my eyes, and go­ing, ‘Well, I guess God’s not go­ing to an­swer my prayer. You bet­ter fig­ure out how you’re go­ing to get through life. This sucks’.

Your re­la­tion­ship with your mother broke down.

There was no re­la­tion­ship with my mother ever again re­ally. Be­cause she walked away from it and let it go on – and de­cided to put her pro­tec­tive wings around Kevin. Who knows what hap­pened to Kevin emo­tion­ally with all that over-nur­tur­ing? My brother was pam­pered and loved. I was abused and ne­glected – and thrown out to the wolves.

You’re say­ing Kevin was mol­ly­cod­dled by your mother?

He didn’t get spanked. He didn’t get pun­ished. Who knows what kind of demons my brother was deal­ing with?

Do you think your mother dam­aged Kevin psy­cho­log­i­cally?

My brother’s never had a se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ship with a woman. He’s never got­ten mar­ried. It used to be just him and my Mum. If that’s psy­cho­log­i­cally dam­aged, I don’t know. Peo­ple can’t imag­ine the life that I en­dured and how it af­fected my brother emo­tion­ally, you know?

How did you get the abuse to stop?

In 1971, I fi­nally had the courage to tell my fa­ther to stop it – oth­er­wise I was go­ing to de­stroy the fam­ily. Well, it stopped with me. But I’ve no idea (about Kevin). In 1971, my brother was still a young kid.

What ex­actly did you say to him?

I would de­stroy the fam­ily. ‘And if you ever touch Kevin,’ I said, ‘I’m go­ing to tell mother and call the po­lice’. I just threat­ened the shit out of this guy. The sex­ual mo­lesta­tion and the sodomy and the oral sex and the head slam­ming up against the wall, while his el­bow is chok­ing me to death, while he does his das­tardly deed – at least that stopped. But the con­stant lec­tur­ing about ab­so­lute non­sense: – all his Nazism and his hat­ing ev­ery­body – I had to put up with this garbage un­til I moved out.

What emo­tions ran through your mind when your fa­ther died in ’92?

I didn’t care that he died. My brother called me up. It was on Christ­mas Eve. I was pretty cold to him. I said, ‘Good! I just had sex. Life goes on’. I didn’t care be­cause he de­stroyed my child­hood. I didn’t shed a tear.

Was Kevin cut up when he called to tell you?

That’s a good point. It didn’t sound like he was cry­ing or any­thing. I don’t re­mem­ber any emo­tion about it.

Did you go to the fu­neral?

My mother asked me not to come to the

fu­neral (laughs). She called me up on Christ­mas morn­ing and asked me not to come be­cause she thought I’d make a big stink. You know what? She’s prob­a­bly right. I didn’t go.

Did you ever tell Kevin that you were pro­tect­ing him as a child?

In ’92, yeah. When my fa­ther was about to die, I fi­nally told the whole fam­ily. I couldn’t tell if he was sur­prised or shocked.

You’d imag­ine that when you told Kevin, if he’d been sex­u­ally abused him­self he would’ve said, ‘Me too’.

You would’ve thought so. But he al­ready had a decade of a par­tic­u­lar life­style and be­ing se­cret.

What was your mother’s re­ac­tion when you told the fam­ily?

‘Ran­dal’s mak­ing shit up!’ My mother de­nied it un­til the end of her life.

Did you ever for­give your fa­ther?

I for­gave no­body be­cause that’s just some silly re­li­gious word. He de­stroyed my orig­i­nal path. Who knows what kind of a drum­ming ca­reer I could’ve had if I hadn’t been hin­dered by all these emo­tional prob­lems. My God! The sky would’ve been the limit. I might’ve been where Kevin was. Be­cause that’s not where he is now. That per­son is dead and gone now. It’s Kevin Fowler now.

So, it was dif­fi­cult see­ing Kevin be­come one of the big­gest stars on the planet?

Yes, it was dif­fi­cult to be a sur­vivor of child abuse and try to deal with my own demons while I watched my brother’s rise to fame. It was hard.

Did you ever con­front your fa­ther about the abuse be­fore he died?

Even on his dy­ing deathbed, there was noth­ing there. He never said shit. I never did get any res­o­lu­tion from him. I com­pletely un­der­stand why my fa­ther was the way he was. I stud­ied them like a de­tec­tive and put to­gether a piece of a small por­tion of a fam­ily tree.

What did you dis­cover?

I went back sev­eral gen­er­a­tions: I saw the pat­terns of my mother’s abuse and my fa­ther’s abuse grow­ing up and how it just fil­tered down to this fam­ily.

You’re say­ing both your par­ents were ac­tu­ally abused too?

My mother was abused, beaten. Not sex­u­ally abused. But fa­ther was sex­u­ally mo­lested by a scout­mas­ter. He ev­i­dently en­joyed it. It wasn’t any big deal to him, as he said.

Were you afraid it might’ve been passed on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions?

That’s why I never had kids. I didn’t want to have to deal with the fact that maybe my child could end up be­ing like my par­ents. That scared the shit out of me. Even though I know it’s not ge­netic, it still both­ered me.

Did the abuse warp your own at­ti­tudes to­wards sex?

Yeah. I was ex­tremely in­tim­i­dated by in­ti­macy. Women were ob­jects. I de­tested ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity

with a pas­sion. I didn’t want to have any­thing to do with sex with men. I lacked the emo­tional sta­bil­ity to un­der­stand how to truly love some­body with all your heart. I fi­nally put most of the ma­jor pieces to­gether when I met Tr­ish My Dish, the woman that I’ve been with for 23 years now. She helped me through the heal­ing process.

It would seem like you han­dled grow­ing up very dif­fer­ently.

I in­ter­nalised the abuse and tried to fig­ure it out – but my brother didn’t. He ex­ter­nalised it. I left no scan­dals along the way of my jour­ney! I’ve done it le­git­i­mately, and with hon­our and with char­ac­ter. It’s all so shock­ing. But I still love my brother.

Why have you and Kevin not spo­ken for so long?

Now, there’s the $52,000 ques­tion. I have no idea. My quest has been to have a re­la­tion­ship with my brother like when we were grow­ing up. When we trusted each other and loved each other and con­fided in each other. Not in ev­ery­thing – ob­vi­ously!

“Fa­ther was sex­u­ally mo­lested by a scout­mas­ter. He ev­i­dently en­joyed it. It wasn’t any big deal to him, as he said.”

Do you think your mother brain­washed Kevin against you?

Def­i­nitely. My mother and fa­ther prob­a­bly poi­soned Kevin against me. Told him things and con­vinced him that I was bad news for his ca­reer.

What was it like meet­ing him at your mother’s fu­neral?

I got one pic­ture of him and five sec­onds of con­ver­sa­tion. It was like an award show. I shit you not. My brother didn’t in­vite any of my mother’s friends. On one side of the church, there was Kevin’s pro­duc­tion crew, the en­tire com­pany – where mother’s friends should be.

What ran through your mind dur­ing the eu­logy?

My brother comes up on stage with a script, giv­ing this mon­u­men­tal trib­ute to my mother, which was just so dis­gust­ing for me. Be­cause that’s not the re­la­tion­ship I had with my mother. And to see her por­trayed in such the op­po­site light of her true char­ac­ter. She lived in de­nial. And she was cruel.

Did you get up and say a few words?

My mother wrote po­ems. She sent me a poem when called The Beau­ti­ful Peo­ple. It talked about peo­ple ex­actly like the way my brother has treated me – and I read that to the au­di­ence. At the end of each pas­sage, I looked down at my brother. He didn’t like it. But it was my way of say­ing, ‘What is your prob­lem? What’s with the si­lence?’ And I never saw him again. It’s 14 years now.

Have you shed a tear since the scan­dal broke?

I read an ar­ti­cle this morn­ing and I cried. It was one say­ing that the ca­reer that my brother had is over. Kevin Spacey is no more: he’s Kevin Fowler again. He’s been de­throned and cut out of movies and fired from his day gig – and it’s just tragic. He had a killer run and, all of a sud­den, overnight, it’s over. Gone. Done. Fin­ished. I’m heart­bro­ken for the man. For my brother to go down in such a flame of dis­grace – he must be re­ally hurt­ing.

“I was go­ing to blow his ass away. I sat there all sweaty palmed with that gun in my hand: a lit­tle 14-year-old kid in the closet. And if he would’ve opened up that door, I can guar­an­tee you it would’ve been all over.”

You and your brother are both cre­ative peo­ple.

Yes. I think for my brother act­ing turned out to be a way for him to es­cape his own hor­ror that he lived as a child. He de­cided to hide in that in­dus­try. For me, I al­ways wanted to be a drum­mer.

Did mu­sic act as a form of ther­apy?

Def­i­nitely. It turned out, for me, the bet­ter I got as a player, the more I was healed in­side over the abuse that hap­pened to me. It was like a per­pet­ual choo choo train – get bet­ter at mu­sic, you healed.

Why did you stop play­ing with bands?

I wasn’t get­ting any bet­ter and I wasn’t heal­ing any­more. I used it as a ve­hi­cle to heal my­self and earn a liv­ing. I don’t know why my brother used it. Now with these al­le­ga­tions of the se­cret life, you can see that I have a lot to think about.

The Bri­tish tabloids are go­ing on about you moon­light­ing as a Rod Ste­wart im­per­son­ator.

No, I don’t. There’s an­other ur­ban leg­end. I spent my en­tire ca­reer look­ing like Rod Ste­wart and no­body ever told me?! I re­tire, start driv­ing a limou­sine and in less than a month Boise Idaho had branded me the Rod Ste­wart im­per­son­ator limo driver. It’s ab­so­lute non­sense. I don’t sing. I def­i­nitely don’t dress like him. I’m a lit­tle flashy on the clothes side. I have my own 17th cen­tury/1980s look. And I hap­pen to wear my hair spiky, okay? So, that’s why I called my limou­sine com­pany Rod’s Li­mos be­cause it was easy for peo­ple to find me. It was all mar­ket­ing stuff. I just went with it since the town branded me.

Grow­ing up, what type of char­ac­ter was Kevin?

He used to act a lot. He used to act and talk like Robert Con­rad from The Wild Wild West. He was a fun, go-lucky kid. When he did plays and stuff like that, he prac­tised around the house. He was a nor­mal kid.

Was he out­go­ing as a kid?

My brother was not the out­go­ing per­son that he is now. He was shy. He didn’t have a lot of friends. He used to hang out with me and my friends.

Did you get drunk as teenagers?

No. We didn’t drink. We didn’t smoke. My brother ev­i­dently is quite the drinker now.

If you could chat with Kevin, what would you ask him?

Two ques­tions: ‘What hap­pened be­tween you and fa­ther? And why 40 years of si­lence be­tween you and me?’ Once I get those two ques­tions an­swered, the puz­zle’s com­plete. I’d like him to call me up, just to be a brother again. That would be re­ally nice to have as a Christ­mas present. I like my Bai­ley’s Ir­ish Cream at Christ­mas and Thanks­giv­ing, but other than that, I don’t drink at all. I’ll break out and have a drink that night.

(Clock­wise from top) Kevin Spacey in House Of Cards; Spacey and Randy Fowler in their youth; and Randy to­day.

(Clock­wise from left) The broth­ers’ fa­ther Thomas Ge­of­frey Fowler; Spacey and Randy; Spacey in his youth; and Randy at the actor’s Hol­ly­wood star.

(Clock­wise from left) Randy with friends; in his band; and prac­tis­ing the drums.

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