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Kevin Spacey fails to take responsibility for rape allegations

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Hollywood seems to be the gift that keeps on giving in all the wrong ways. This time, “Baby Driver” actor Kevin Spacey addressed allegations of having sexually harassed a then-fourteen-year-old Anthony Rapp. In his “apology” Spacey claimed that he does not remember the encounter, that his behavior was the result of his drunkenness and then he took the opportunity to come out as a gay man.

Oh boy. There’s a lot to unload here.

Let’s start with how this relates to America’s sense of rape culture. Spacey’s pathetic attempt at an apology tries to mitigate any sort of blame he might be accepting for his own actions. To begin, Spacey invalidates Rapp’s claims against him in his insistence that he does not remember the incident, and the phrase “if I did behave then as he describes” illustrates his own unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions.

This plays into a very long conversation about victim blaming within rape culture, as well as the general lack of respect that victims are treated with, not only by their abusers but also by society as a whole. If not for the fact that other assault and harassment allegations have been pouring out of Hollywood, I don’t know how seriously people would be taking these charges.

His treatment of Rapp is not the only issue though; by taking this as an opportunity to officially come out of the closet, he attempts to deflect the conversation from the detestable things that he has done to him finally having the “bravery” to be his true self. It’s a thinly veiled attempt to control media reporting on his apology and on the allegations in general, but the comment is so hamfisted and insipid that it’s impossible not to notice. It’s tactless, it’s gross and again it illustrates an unwillingness to be held accountable for his actions, which has to be done.

Moreover, Spacey’s convenient coming out manages to throw the rest of the LGBT+ community under the bus in the process. While he was only trying to weasel out of the consequences to his actions, his coming out creates an immediate association between gay men and predators, especially pedophiles. Trace this then to the growing accusations by other actors and one can add to it the general idea that gay men prey upon straight men in their wild inability to control their ungodly lust.

It’s far from just, but the fact of the matter is that marginalized individuals represent the communities they come from whenever they are in public. That means that in his own transgressions, Spacey is already linking his predatory actions to the LGBT+ community as a whole, and his combination of the two only worsens this notion. This plays into too many stereotypes about gay men, and while Spacey has every right to live out and proud and whatnot, he should have enough tact to not immediately conflate the two.

Spacey is just one of many men in Hollywood who are being made to reconcile with their transgressions, as they should. Regardless of one’s sexuality, one must take responsibility for their actions. My heart goes out to Rapp and other survivors. Know that you are heard, and there will be justice.

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Kevin Spacey fails to take responsibility for rape allegations