Monday 23 July 2018

Kevin Spacey sparks backlash after coming out as gay in apology for 'inappropriate drunken behaviour'

Host Kevin Spacey attends the 2017 Tony Awards - Red Carpet at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISSANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
Host Kevin Spacey attends the 2017 Tony Awards - Red Carpet at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISSANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Sherna Noah and Charlotte Birch

Kevin Spacey has come under fire for opening up about his sexuality, stating that he is living "as a gay man", in a statement in which he apologised for any "inappropriate drunken behaviour" with a 14-year-old in 1986.

The House Of Cards star and former artistic director of London's Old Vic theatre tweeted a statement after actor Anthony Rapp accused the 58-year-old of historical harassment.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp said Spacey, then aged 26, placed him on a bed and climbed on top of him following a party at his apartment.

Spacey said he is "beyond horrified" by the claim, that he does not remember the alleged incident, "which 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 behaviour".

He said the story "has encouraged me to address other things about my life".

In the Twitter post, he added: "I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fuelled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy.

Anthony Rapp (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Anthony Rapp (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"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 behaviour."

He was criticised for conflating the two statements.

Actor @billyeichner wrote: "That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.

"But honestly I hesitate to make jokes because the Spacey statement is truly disgusting, irresponsible and dangerous."

@rilaws said: "For a famous person to deflect these accusations with a long-in-the-making coming out is so cruel to his supposed new community it stings."

@larrywilmore wrote: "Kevin Spacey's comment was wrong on so many levels."

Rapp commented on Twitter: "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."

Double Oscar winner Spacey is best known for the film American Beauty and TV drama House Of Cards.

His long-running tenure at The Old Vic hit the headlines a year after he joined when he reported to police that he had been attacked in a park at around 4am on a Saturday morning.

He later dropped the complaint, saying that a youth had conned him into handing over his mobile while he was walking his dog and that he injured himself when he tripped over his pet as he chased the youth.

On Monday, following Rapp's accusation, the Royal Court theatre's artistic director, Vicky Featherstone, was asked if she was aware of stories about Spacey when he was working in London.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think that many people in theatre and the creative industries have been aware of many stories of many people over a lot of years."

After the Harvey Weinstein allegations there had been an "opening of the floodgates and a very important moment for us all throughout society, not just in our industry", she said.

Press Association

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