As many predicted, it appears the Harvey Weinstein scandal which exposed rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood by powerful movers and shakers and a corresponding cover-up “culture of silence” was just the tip of the iceberg. Overnight, Kevin Spacey issued what was clearly an already prepared and carefully crafted statement in response to bombshell allegations published by Buzzfeed a mere hours prior late Sunday night wherein actor Anthony Rapp alleged he was sexually assaulted by Spacey when Rapp was only 14-years old. And far from denying the allegations it appears that Spacey has more or less confirmed the assault on the then child actor who emerged as a Broadway star in the musical “Rent”, and who currently plays Lt. Stamets on “Star Trek: Discovery”.
Spacey posted his statement to Twitter, which actually reads as confirmation of the shocking allegations while attempting to obfuscate, saying, “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.”
Image source: WireImage/FilmMagic
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
The sequence of events which caused Rapp to come forward after all these years – a recent near encounter with the man he “dreaded” – are described by Buzzfeed, based on Rapp’s personal testimony, as follows:
Last June, Anthony Rapp settled in at the home of his good friend and fellow actor Camryn Manheim to watch the Tony Awards. The New York natives were both in Toronto working, and Manheim had invited Rapp and his boyfriend over to partake in the beloved theater geek ritual. But for the first time, Rapp — a working actor since he was 9 years old, and most famously part of the original cast of the musical Rent — felt something he’d never experienced before with the Tonys: dread.
And that’s because the host that night was Kevin Spacey.
Buzzfeed continues the description:
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.
Rapp posted a response to Spacey’s overnight statement a mere minutes later, saying, “I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out” – which is an apparent reference to the women coming forward in the midst of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, which Rapp acknowledged when speaking to Buzzfeed.
The child actor, who began his career at the age of six and landed his first professional job at nine years old, told Buzzfeed that the experience haunted him all these years as Spacey’s fame grew and as he became a more of a ubiquitous presence across the film industry:
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.”
Everything I wanted to say about my experience is in that article, and I have no further comment about it at this time.
— Anthony Rapp (@albinokid) October 30, 2017
Rapp’s detailed recounting of the assault begins by being surprised that he was invited to Spacey’s Manhattan apartment for a party even though he was so young:
When he arrived at Spacey’s apartment, Rapp quickly realized that he was the only nonadult there — which, again, did not worry him, since he so often had found himself in similar situations as a child actor. The bigger issue: “I didn’t know anyone,” he said. “And I was quickly kind of bored.”
Rapp said he ended up wandering into the bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed, and watching TV well past midnight.
And Rapp’s account of the moment the alleged assault happened includes reference to Spacey picking him up as a 14-year old boy “like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold” and then laying down on top of him:
“My memory was that I thought, Oh, everybody’s gone. Well, yeah, I should probably go home,” Rapp said. Spacey, he recalled, “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.” Rapp doesn’t remember Spacey saying anything to him. Instead, Rapp said, “He 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,” Rapp said. “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 recalled this all happening — Spacey appearing at the door, coming into the room, picking him up, and putting him on the bed — in one clumsy action, with Spacey landing at a slight angle on top of him. He said Spacey “was, like, pressing into me,” and that he remembers Spacey “tightening his arms.” But while he can’t recall exactly how long Spacey remained on top of him, Rapp said he was able to “squirm” away after a short period.
Buzzfeed: Spacey then invited both boys to join him at the popular nightclub Limelight, even though, as Rapp explained, “I looked younger than 14.” Above: Anthony Rapp, circled, in the Playbill program for Precious Sons, during the time period when the encounter with Spacey took place. Image source: Playbill via Buzzfeed
Photo from Anthony Rapp’s book “Without You” – with the caption: “Anne, Mom, Adam and me circa 1983” (Rapp is bottom right – his encounter with Kevin Spacey will occur three years later when he becomes a child actor on Broadway). Image source: SF Gate
The night ended when Rapp pushed Spacey away, went into the bathroom, and then headed for the apartment door:
“It was a frozen moment,” Rapp said of the entire encounter, with a deep, exasperated sigh. “In terms of fight or flight or freeze, I tend to freeze.”
After pushing Spacey off him, Rapp remembered he was able to step into the bathroom and close the door…
…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.”
As Buzzfeed’s fact-checkers confirm, what gives Rapp’s detailed account added veracity is that he attempted to convey the same exact allegations during a 2001 interview with the Advocate magazine – this, in addition to quietly telling multiple other people over a period of a couple decades. Buzzfeed explains further:
Between that encounter and Spacey winning the Oscar for Best Actor the following year for American Beauty, Rapp was riled up enough to speak about what Spacey did to him in a Q&A with the Advocate in 2001 — “I was bored, so I was in his bedroom watching TV and didn’t know everybody had left, and he came to the bedroom and he picked me up and lay down on top of me” — with Spacey’s name redacted from the story. (Bruce Steele, then the executive editor of the Advocate, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Rapp was talking about Spacey.)
All of this sheds further light on a somewhat cryptic October 13 tweet by former television news anchor Heather Unruh, who tweeted the following while not explaining further: “The Weinstein Scandal has emboldened me … I was a Kevin Spacey fan until he assaulted a loved one. Time the dominoes fell.”
— Heather Unruh (@HeatherUnruh) October 13, 2017
Though Heather Unruh has kept silent since her allegation was posted to Twitter, her and Rapp’s speaking out could mark the beginning of more stories of abuse at the hands of Oscar winner and American Beauty star Kevin Spacey to come, which is precisely the “opening the floodgates” scenario that continues to unfold in the case of Harney Weinstein.
Meanwhile, when it comes to legal terms and the question of whether a formal investigation against Kevin Spacey can take place, though some states like Florida don’t have a statute of limitations on child sexual assault crimes, New York’s is one of the least favorable toward victims in the country: victims have until the age of 23 to either bring criminal charges or file civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrators, and Anthony Rapp is now 46-years old.
But in terms of Spacey’s defense of his career and reputation in the media spotlight, it appears that his statement – again which appears to be more of an ambiguous and roundabout confirmation rather than flat denial – was tailored to play up the “I choose to live as a gay man” aspect in the hopes that this element would dominate the headlines.
ABC initially published under the above headline.
Indeed, some outlets in their overnight reporting are already falling right in line – People Magazine, for example makes it all sound quite innocuous that Spacey attempted to allegedly have sex with a child – with its headline that reads, Kevin Spacey Comes Out as Gay After Anthony Rapp Alleges the Actor Made Sexual Advances Toward Him at 14. And CNN’s headline hides the fact that the reported “misconduct” involves a child of 14: Kevin Spacey apologizes after accusation of sexual misconduct. The New York Times makes sure to emphasize the assault is “decades-old” in its headline, Kevin Spacey Apologizes After Allegation of Decades-Old Sexual Advance on a Minor, while also emphasizes the operative word “apologizes”.
To Anthony Rapp and potentially other victims out there, the news should hardly be cast in terms of Spacey’s “coming out” – but shamefully this is how the mainstream media is already choosing to frame it.