Everything Wrong With Kevin Spacey's Apology

Recently, actor Anthony Rapp came forward with a harrowing story from his adolescence. In 1986, 26-year-old actor Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance towards 14-year-old Rapp in the former’s apartment. In light of Rapp’s accusations, Spacey released a public “apology,” for lack of a better word.

While some are praising him for “taking responsibility” of his actions and being honest, I myself find his statement to be quite problematic for many reasons.

First, it sounds as though he is trying to undermine the victim by saying that he “honestly doesn’t remember” the encounter. He uses hypothetical language such as “if I did,” which makes it sound as though he is invalidating the accusation.

Second, inebriation does not just magically turn one into a hebephile, which is someone who is primarily attracted to adolescents. Spacey uses his intoxicated state as a shield of justification. The fact that he acted inappropriately towards a minor, sober or drunk, cannot be glossed over. Food for thought: his performance in American Beauty as a man sexually infatuated with a teenager is even more disturbing now than it was before.

My third critique, and the hardest one to unpack, is his untimely coming out, tacked on to the end of his apology. This is, quite possibly, the worst way that anyone could ever come out as gay. He uses it as a deflection tool. He is taking away the voice of the accuser, Rapp, and making the narrative a coming out story about him. Being a member of the LGBT community never suited him before, but he chose this occasion to use it to his benefit. His statement is also harmful because it leads people to conflate homosexuality with sexual assault, and implies that being gay is a choice. The gay community will surely suffer from these blows.

After learning of these accusations, I have lost any and all respect for Spacey. He used his position of power in Hollywood to attempt to take advantage of a child. That is unforgivable, despite his pathetic stab at an apology statement.

On behalf of the LGBT community: we don’t want you, Kevin.