A&E What's Hot — 17 November 2017

Elizabeth Joy

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Actor Kevin Spacey’s career quickly folded when former co-star, Anthony Rapp, made public accusations of sexual assault on Oct. 29.  Netflix dismissed Spacey immediately from his lead roll on the hit series, “House of Cards” and cancelled plans to move forward with Spacey’s release of the film “Gore,” which he both produced and starred in.  In addition, the upcoming Carol Burnett reunion show cut him out and his finished movie, “All the Money in the World,” was pulled from the American Film Institutes AFI festival.   

Rapp, the “Star Trek:  Discovery” actor, who came out with hi story on Oct. 29, is accusing Spacey of making sexual advances towards him when he was 14 years old, and Spacey, 26 years old. 

Spacey’s alleged past behavior that has been put on recent public display is proving to be both current and no secret to “The House of Cards” staff.  Kate Aurthur, BuzzFeed news reporter, said in her article on Nov. 6 that Spacey was so central to the ‘House of Cards’ project; he acted as if he were untouchable.   Spacey felt, “he could flirt brazenly with young male employees in front of the cast and crew.” 

This overlying abuse of power in the entertainment industry is nothing new.   According to BuzzFeed reporter Adam B. Vary’s article on Oct. 29, it was women speaking out about sexual misconduct in this industry that inspired him to tell.  The accusations against Harvey Weinstein created a public discussion about the hidden sexual harassment in the entertainment world. This made Rapp feel moved to come forward with his own story.   

In reflection, Rapp recalls how last summer’s Tony Awards, which Spacey hosted, unlocked these memories for him. Spacey’s ongoing success and popularity has sparked growing frustration and anger in Rapp over the years, who was still clinging to his secret. 

“Seeing Spacey now.. My stomach turns,'” 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.”

Spacey’s response was that he did not remember the incident. “But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” Spacey wrote.

He continues to respond to all accusations, both Rapp’s and the many others that began to surface after Rapp’s initial tell all. In said tell all, Rapp explained that the entire ordeal has caused him to “address other things in my life.” 

Spacey’s way of addressing the fact he committed felony sexual assaults on minors was that he is “both a private man and a gay man”.

Rapp also said in the same BuzzFeed article, that his coming forward with his experience was not just to “air a grievance,” but rather to bring about change, shedding light on decades of problematic behavior.   Rapp blames this fixed mentality being due to “many people, including myself, being silent.”  He is feeling “awake to the moment that we’re living in, and I’m hopeful that this can make a difference.”   

After trying to come forth in earlier years, yet brushed off, being advised it was a waste of time, Rapp finally had a change of heart.  “Part of what allowed the Harvey situation to occur was that there was this witting and unwitting conspiracy of silence.”  Rapp said that ignoring this issue is the only way it will continue.  

Rapp plans to work from within to create an “infrastructure to prevent predatory behavior.”  He hopes to make it safer for those victimized to speak out.  

In an interview conducted by USA Today’s reporter Mauve McDermott wrote in a Nov. 7 article, interviewing Jason Issac, Rapp’s Star Trek co-star, that Issac is proud of him for sharing his story.  “He did this thing by himself, but he did it for many other people.  Speaking up against power takes a lot of guts.  To be the first person to speak out is heroic.”

In the end, reasons such as, sexual preference, being gay, substance abuse status, or being too drunk does not excuse assaulting a minor.  The very fact Spacey responded in such a manner shows the deep-rooted issue behind this social disease. 

In a CNN report Dan Savage said, “Nope to Kevin Spacey’s statement. Nope.  There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains assaulting a 14 year old child.”

Ashlee Marie Preston, writer and activist tweeted, “I’m not interested in Kevin Spacey being gay.  I’m curious as to why we’re conflating sexuality with the molestation of a minor.  Stay on topic.”

In recent months more and more powerful men have been accused of these similar violations.  Inspiration from others speaking out, getting a voice, is contagious.  The #MeToo” campaign is one example of how sexual assault survivors can gain ground, feeling connected to others who identify with their same pain, and shame. Being empowered to stand up for what’s right, by exposing what is wrong, is what will end this silence.

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