On Monday, Kevin Spacey released a statement after Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp’s alleged that the House of Cards actor had made inappropriate sexual advances on him in 1986, when Rapp was 14.
In his response, Spacey said he could not remember the incident but if it had indeed taken place as described, he is apologetic about his “deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour” and is sorry about the emotional trauma that Rapp has had to experience over the years.
Spacey continued in his statement that Rapp’s allegations had compelled him to address aspects about his life. He revealed that while he had been bisexual in the past, he now lives his life as a gay man. The admission ended decades of speculation about his sexuality, something he had kept closely guarded throughout his career.
However, Spacey’s response invited a barrage of criticism on Twitter. Many believed that Spacey’s decision to combine his sexuality with his response to Rapp’s allegations of sexual impropriety was a strategically thought out public relations tactic, seemingly an attempt to deflect attention from the allegations.
Many prominent celebrities joined hundreds of twitter users in criticised Spacey for the suspect timing of his revelation, including comedian Cameron Esposito, author and activist Dan Savage, and actress Rose McGowan, who earlier this month alleged that she was one of the several women who was raped by disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and had been recently offered 1 million to keep quiet about the incident.
While Esposito wrote: “Just wanna be really f**ing clear that being gay has nothing to do w/ going after underage folks”, comedian and actor Billy Eichner quipped that Spacey had done the unthinkable by inventing a “bad time to come out.”
Emmy award winning writer, actor and comedian Travon Free also criticised Spacey’s decision to come out in response to Rapp’s allegations.
Some Twitter users drew connections between the allegations against Spacey, his response to them and the character’s he’s played in the past.
Many believed that Spacey’s response undermined the LGBTQ community and its decades-long fight against discrimination, while other feared that the seeming attempt to deflect attention from the seriousness of the allegations would prove effective.