Gay rights campaigners have slammed Kevin Spacey’s decision to come out as gay during an apology to actor Anthony Rapp, claiming it links homosexuality with abuse.
Spacey has been accused of making sexual advances at a 14-year-old Rapp after inviting him to his Manhattan apartment.
Just hours after being accused, Spacey released a statement announcing he was gay and admitted there ‘are stories out there about me’.
But Spacey’s coming out has caused fury in the LGBT community, with high-profile campaigner Peter Tatchell saying it links homosexuality with abuse.
Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp (left) is accusing Hollywood A-lister Kevin Spacey (right) of making a sexual advance toward him when he was aged 14. Spacey has been slammed by LGBT campaigners for coming out during an apology to Rapp
Spacey issued a statement (above) via his Twitter account after Rapp’s claims were made public. But LGBT campaigners have accused him of linking homosexuality with abuse
Spacey, who was aged 26 at the time, allegedly invited Rapp to his apartment for a party in 1986. Rapp said that he went to watch TV in Spacey’s bedroom until after midnight because he became bored. Spacey is pictured above in 1986 in Heartburn
He told the Guardian: ‘It is tragic that it has taken allegations of sexual harassment for Kevin Spacey to finally come out as gay, after not disclosing his sexuality for decades.
‘It is even worse that he mixes up his sexuality with inappropriate behaviour. His gayness is irrelevant. It’s his actions that have prompted concern.’
And LGBT campaign group Stonewall also criticised the move.
A spokesman said: ‘Usually when celebrities come out we’re quick to send on our congratulations and to talk about the importance of role models.
‘But for Kevin Spacey to choose this particular moment to come out is harmful to the LGBT community.
‘His sexual orientation bears no relevance to the serious allegations he is facing, and to conflate these things is extremely damaging.’
Earlier, actress Rose Mcgowan led the backlash against Spacey, accusing him of coming out to excuse making a pass at Rapp.
Rapp (above being held by Ed Harris in Precious Sons in 1986) told BuzzFeed News that Spacey then ‘picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.’
The actress, who has been extremely vocal during the Harvey Weinstein fallout, took to Twitter to lay into the House of Cards actor.
She said, ‘Bye bye, Spacey. Goodbye. It’s your turn to cry. That’s why we’ve gotta say goodbye,’ ending with the hashtag Rose Army.
It was in relation to the Star Trek: Discovery actor sensationally accusing Spacey of inviting him to his Manhattan apartment when he was just 14 years old and making what he described as a ‘drunken’ sexual advance towards him.
Just hours after being accused, Spacey released a statement announcing he was gay, a move comedian Billy Eichner described as disgusting, irresponsible and dangerous.
Rapp made the allegations against Spacey in a story that was published by BuzzFeed News on Sunday, and hours later the Hollywood A-lister issued a statement via his Twitter account.
Spacey said he was ‘beyond horrified’ to learn of Rapp’s allegations and apologised for ‘what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior’, although he said he didn’t remember the alleged incident.
The House of Cards star, who was presented with an honorary knighthood by Prince Charles in June last year, also revealed that he has had relationships with men and women throughout his life, but now chooses to live as a gay man.
Many followed McGowan’s lead to condemn the timing of the announcement.
Jordan Thompson, an activist and New Hampshire native running for Moderator in Nashua’s District 29 (Ward 2), said: ‘Feels kinda gross that you’re turning a story that should be about the victim (s)…into a story about you?
‘Congrats on coming out, I guess?’
Another, identifying as Sherri, said: ‘Is Kevin Spacey trying to change the focus from the sexual assault of a 14-year-old to his own sexuality?
‘The assault is what matters.’
Writer Broderick Greer said: ‘Deeply, deeply unwise framing of this Kevin Spacey story, especially as it relates to the conflation of sexual orientation and sexual assault.’
New York-based editor Linsey Weber said: ‘So Kevin Spacey is gonna use a coming out narrative to deflect that this ‘oopsie’ moment happened with a 14-year-old. Infuriating.’
Yashar Ali, another writer, said: ‘Harvey Weinstein: ‘I’m going to fight the NRA!’
‘Kevin Spacey: ‘I’m gay!’
‘Same story different distractions…’
And journalist Jeff Black said: ‘Nobody cares that Kevin Spacey is gay. Everyone reasonably tuned into Hollywood knew that already.
‘People care that he may be a pedophile.’
Author and journalist Dan Savage tweeted: ‘Nope to Kevin Spacey’s statement. Nope. There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child.’
Actor and comedian Billy Eichner tweeted: ‘That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.’
British presenter Sue Perkins said: ‘Well done Kev. You stay silent on your sexuality until the time comes when you can conflate it with an alleged sexual assault on a minor.’
Rapp (left), who is now aged 46, said that he thought about reaching out to Spacey, 58, following the alleged incident, but ultimately decided against it
Star Trek actor Rapp told to BuzzFeed News that he met Spacey in 1986 while they both appeared in different Broadway shows. At the time, Rapp was in Precious Sons and Spacey was in Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
Spacey, who was aged 26 at the time, allegedly invited Rapp to his Manhattan apartment for a party.
Rapp told BuzzFeed News that he became bored and went to watch television in Spacey’s bedroom until after midnight before realizing he was the only one left in the property with Spacey.
Rapp alleged that Spacey then appeared and ‘sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.’
He told BuzzFeed News that Spacey then ‘picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.
‘He was trying to seduce me.
‘I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.’
Rapp alleged that Spacey, who is now a two-time Academy Award winner, was ‘was, like, pressing into’ him and ‘tightening his arms.’
Rose McGowan has led a chorus of backlash against Kevin Spacey accusing him of coming out to excuse making a sexual pass at a 14-year-old Anthony Rapp
‘It was a frozen moment,’ Rapp told BuzzFeed News. ‘In terms of fight or flight or freeze, I tend to freeze.’
Rapp said he was able to ‘wriggle’ away after some time and went into the bathroom where he shut the door.
‘I was like, ‘What is happening?” he said.
‘I saw on the counter next to the sink a picture of him having his arm around a man.
‘So I think on some level I was like, ‘Oh. He’s gay. I guess.’
‘Then I opened the door, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go home now.’ He followed me to the front door of the apartment, and as I opened the door to leave, he was leaning on the front door[frame].
‘And he was like, ‘Are you sure you wanna go?’ I said, ‘Yes, good night,’ and then I did leave.’
Rapp, who was most famously part of the original cast of the musical Rent, said he feels lucky nothing more happened during that night.
He said he thought about reaching out to Spacey, 58, following the alleged incident, but ultimately decided against it.
Spacey said he has ‘a lot of respect’ for Rapp in the statement he issued regarding the alleged incident.
‘I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor,’ Spacey wrote. ‘I’m beyond horrified to hear this story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago.
‘But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.
‘This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy.
‘As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women.
‘I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.’
After BuzzFeed News published the story, Rapp tweeted the above statements late Sunday night. He has not commented yet about Spacey’s statement
Rapp, who is now 46 years old, said he decided to come forward following the dozens of sexual harassment and misconduct claims against Harvey Weinstein and others in the industry.
‘Not to simply air a grievance, but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent.
‘I’m feeling really awake to the moment that we’re living in, and I’m hopeful that this can make a difference,’ Rapp told BuzzFeed News.