Today in Rape Culture: Kevin Spacey

[Content Note: Description of sexual assault.]

Another one from the Longtime Rumors file: Actor Anthony Rapp (whom, as an aside, I have adored since he played Daryl in Adventures in Babysitting, a movie I have watched no fewer than ten jillion times) has publicly disclosed that actor Kevin Spacey attempted to sexually assault him when he (Rapp) was 14 years old.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp is publicly alleging for the first time that in 1986, Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance. According to public records, Spacey was 26. Rapp was 14.

For years, Rapp, now 46, told no one about his experience, and he has never spoken with Spacey since. But as Spacey's star began to rise through the 1990s and 2000s — including a Tony Award, two Oscars, a decadelong run as the creative director of the Old Vic theater in London, and six seasons and counting on the hit Netflix series House of Cards — Rapp's frustration, anger, and incredulity with the sexual boundary he said Spacey crossed with him grew as well. Seeing Spacey now, "My stomach churns," Rapp said. "I still to this day can't wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It's just deeply confusing to me."
There is a more detailed account of the assault at the link, as well as much more from Rapp about how the incident has continued to affect him, especially given Spacey's prominence in the same industry.

I also want to highlight this passage, given the number of times over the past several weeks we've seen people demand to know why accusers didn't come forward sooner or report to law enforcement: "Rapp said he even met with a lawyer, who told him there was no case worth pursuing."

No victim is obliged to report her or his assault in the first place. But let's be clear that there are victims who do try to report and are turned away, either by attorneys with whom they consult or by law enforcement.

Spacey responded on Twitter to the allegation with a statement that reads:
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I'm beyond horrified to hear his 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.
There is a lot to unpack there, starting with the fact that Spacey does not deny the charge. There's also the issue of his cynically trying to turn his coming out into the news story, to deflect from the charge of sexually preying on a child, and the fact that he reductively describes said predation as "inappropriate drunken behavior." The booze made me do it! That old chestnut.

At the Daily Beast, Ira Madison III also deals with the fact that Spacey's coming out also "grossly conflates pedophilia and homosexuality."

What an absolute shitshow.

As I said at the top of the piece, Spacey is another man about whom there have long been whispers about his predation, so I suspect that Rapp might be the first of many.

Even and especially if he is not, he is brave to have spoken out, and I take up space in solidarity with him.

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