Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey’s career is in freefall as the LGBT community lashes out at his attempt to deflect sexual abuse claims by coming out as gay.
On Sunday, Star Trek Discovery star Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making “sexual advances” towards him when he was 14 years old.
Spacey responded on Twitter by stating that he did not remember the alleged 1986 incident but apologised if it did happen.
He then bizarrely used the apology to announce for the first time that he is living his life as a gay man; an identity he has refused to confirm in the past.
The contrived coming out was met with a furious backlash. Fellow out actor Zachary Quinto took to social media to call the action “deeply sad and troubling”.
He said that instead of the moment “inspiring tens of thousands of struggling LGBTQ kids around the world”, it was “a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very most serious accusation that he attempted to molest one.”
Quinto continued: “I am sorry that Kevin only saw fit to acknowledge his truth when he thought it would serve him — just as his denial served him for so many years. May Anthony Rapp’s voice be the one which is amplified here. Victim’s voices are the ones that deserve to be heard.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, the President and CEO of GLAAD, added her voice to the wave of condemnation: “Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault,” she tweeted. “This isn’t a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp and those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that.”
Furious out comedian Wanda Sykes also tweeted: “No no no no no! You do not get to ‘choose’ to hide under the rainbow! Kick rocks.”
The Guardian columnist Owen Jones said that Spacey’s “coming out” has “fuelled a vicious lie about gay men”; perpetuating the dangerous and false link between homosexuality and child abuse.
Spacey not only refused to identify with the LGBT community for decades, explained Jones, but when he did, it only served to cause severe damage to this group.
“In the coming days, weeks and months, I bet you that homophobic bigots will use Spacey’s case to press the case that LGBTQ people threaten children,” he wrote. “It will be used to justify oppression and mental and physical abuse. There will be those who have yet to come out who will be deterred from doing so. And all because of Spacey’s statement.”
On Monday, Netflix announced that House of Cards, the show in which Spacey stars, had been cancelled. The company said the decision had been taken a month ago but it was decided to announce it now in light of the allegations. The final episodes of the series will air in 2018.
The International Emmy Awards also withdrew its plans to honour the actor for his career achievements next month in New York City.
The organisation tweeted: “The International Academy has announced that in light of recent events it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 Intl Emmy Founders Award.”
Meanwhile, other than his initial tweets on Monday, Rapp has not commented further about his allegations against Spacey or the furore that’s followed.