No More Excuses
A month ago, the name Kevin Spacey would have brought to mind “award-winning actor”, “the guy in House of Cards”, and maybe even “political activist.” Now his name is on a long list of previously powerful and prevalent men in Hollywood that have been accused of sexual harassment. The catalyst was the expulsion of Harvey Weinstein from the industry, who sexually harassed and/or assaulted over 50 women and is also being charged with rape. From that point to the present, victims who had been quiet about their experiences due to fear of hurting their careers, started coming forward in waves, exposing many of Hollywood’s powerful men as criminals and abusers of power. However, one criminal and formerly beloved actor made people realize this is not just violence and mistreatment against women, but also against men and children. This is the real Kevin Spacey, who has been accused by several men of sexual harassment and abuse when they were much younger and in some cases even children. Spacey then tried to deflect these accusations by coming out as a gay man and trying to use the LGBTQ+ community as a shield against his past actions.
It started when actor Anthony Rapp came forward and told Buzzfeed News that Spacey had made sexual advances toward him in 1986 when Rapp was only 14 years old. Others have come forward anonymously saying that Spacey had harassed and/or assaulted them. After Rapp’s statement was released to the public, Spacey tweeted an apology that wasn’t really an apology. Broken down, this is what it entails:
- The excuse that he was drunk when he sexually harassed a 14 year old boy
- Coming out as a gay man in hopes to earn sympathy from the LGBTQ+ community
- Coming out as a gay man as if being gay were an excuse for pedophilia and therefore throwing the very community he was trying to appeal to under the bus. Needless to say, the whole community was outraged by Spacey’s statement, as he used “coming out” to try and distract the general public from his crimes.
Another point of discussion that this particular issue has brought up is the sexual assault and harassment of men and children. The expectation of men in our society is for them to be stoic, silent, and strong. This has reinforced the stigma around men being sexually assaulted or raped and has caused survivors to keep silent about their experiences. The culture of silence around this is especially prevalent in the entertainment industry, where one scandal or piece of bad press could destroy your dreams. This is why male survivors have kept their stories to themselves for years and even decades. But going even further, the pedophilia in Hollywood and the media is a strong presence, and Hollywood has somewhat normalized it. We should not be sexualising fourteen year olds. We should not be sexualising sixteen year olds. Any child under the age of eighteen should not be hyper-sexualised by the media or by Hollywood. It enables and has enabled the powerful in the entertainment industry to exploit these vulnerable children.
In conclusion, it is the time to demand that the people who gain so much power by entertaining the masses be held accountable. We cannot let men like Kevin Spacey get away with their gross misconduct just because he stars in our favorite shows and movies. What they do in their work does not justify the actions in their personal life, even if they work in an industry that can automatically make you famous. But we cannot and will not turn a blind eye to this issue any longer.