Spacey slammed for tim­ing of com­ing out

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Mark Kennedy AP En­ter­tain­ment Writer

NEW YORK — Kevin Spacey’s state­ment of re­gret af­ter be­ing ac­cused of try­ing to se­duce for­mer child ac­tor An­thony Rapp has kicked up a back­lash when the two- time Os­car win­ner then chose to come out of the closet, prompt­ing many to ques­tion the tim­ing and ac­cus­ing the ac­tor of try­ing to change the sub­ject.

“Kevin Spacey re­ally tried to throw the en­tire LGBT com­mu­nity un­der a bus and call it sol­i­dar­ity in an ef­fort to mask his per­sonal fail­ings,” wrote civil rights ac­tivist DeRay Mckes­son on Twit­ter.

Sarah Kate El­lis, pres­i­dent and CEO of the gay rights group GLAAD said in a state­ment that the story was re­ally about un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances on Rapp not Spacey’s sex­u­al­ity. “Com­ing out sto­ries should not be used to de­flect from al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault,” she said.

The controversy be­gan when Rapp t old Buz­zFeed News that he was at­tend­ing a party at Spacey’s apart­ment in 1986 when an ine­bri­ated 26-year-old Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him. Rapp, then 14, was able to get away with­out any phys­i­cal harm.

Spacey re­sponded on Twit­ter by say­ing he doesn’t re­mem­ber the al­leged en­counter but if he acted the way Rapp al­leges, “I owe him the sin­cer­est apol­ogy for what would have been deeply in­ap­pro­pri­ate drunken be­hav­ior.”

The “House of Cards” ac­tor then said Rapp’s story “en­cour­aged” him to ad­dress long-sim­mer­ing ru­mors about his sex­u­al­ity. He wrote that he’s had ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships with both men and women in the past but is now liv­ing “as a gay man” and wanted to be hon­est so he could ex­am­ine “my own be­hav­ior.” Re­quests for com­ment went unan­swered.

The t wo- para­graph state­ment — an apol­ogy in the first for a 31-yearold al­leged as­sault and a self-out­ing in the sec­ond — struck many as an odd time for Spacey to ad­dress his sex­u­al­ity. Worse, he seemed to make a con­nec­tion be­tween be­ing gay and sex­ual abuse of mi­nors.

“You do not get t o ‘ choose’ to hide un­der the rain­bow!” co­me­dian Wanda Sykes, out­spo­ken mem­ber of the LGBT com­mu­nity, wrote on Twit­ter. Co­me­dian Billy Eich­ner also crit­i­cized the move: “Kevin Spacey has just in­vented some­thing that has never ex­isted be­fore: a bad time to come out.”

Rapp’s al­le­ga­tions come a few weeks af­ter dozens of women came for­ward to ac­cuse movie mogul Har­vey Weinstein of sex­ual ha­rass­ment or as­sault, trig­ger­ing sim­i­lar ac­cu­sa­tions across work­places. Rapp cited the many Weinstein accusers for the rea­son he re­counted his en­counter with Spacey.

“I came for­ward with my story, stand­ing on the shoul­ders of the many coura­geous women and men who have been speak­ing out to shine a light and hope­fully make a dif­fer­ence, as they have done for me,” he wrote on Twit­ter. Rapp, who starred on Broad­way in “Rent,” cur­rently stars in “Star Trek: Dis­cov­ery.”

For­mer “House of Cards” showrun­ner Beau Wil­limon, who is pres­i­dent of the Writ­ers Guild of Amer­ica, East, called Rapp’s story “deeply troubling.”

In a state­ment ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press, Will­mon said: “Dur­ing the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on ‘House of Cards,’ I nei­ther wit­nessed nor was aware of any in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior on set or off. That said, I take re­ports of such be­hav­ior se­ri­ously and this is no ex­cep­tion. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I sup­port his courage.”

File, Michael Zorn / Invision via AP

Ac­tor Kevin Spacey faces con­sid­er­able controversy in the wake of al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing him­self and ac­tor An­thony Rapp from 1986.

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