Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey came out as a gay man and issued an apology late Sunday as his name trended on Twitter: BuzzFeed had reported he made a sexual advance on Star Trek star Anthony Rapp when he was only 14. Spacey was 26.
Rapp suggested he wasn't sure whether Spacey would remember the encounter — which Rapp says ended only when he escaped from underneath Spacey and then insisted on leaving — because the actor was drunk and it was so long ago. In response, Spacey issued a apology, saying, "I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. 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.”
Then, Spacey confirmed a rumor long heard through Hollywood: "This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had some relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior."
BuzzFeed notes that Rapp — who is now 46 — first recounted the sexual advance to The Advocate in an interview in 2001, although Spacey was not mentioned by name. Author Dennis Hensley did the Q&A.
Hensley: That makes me think of [a certain leading man] in [a certain award-winning film].
Rapp: It’s hard for me to evaluate his acting because I’m so angry at him. I met him when I was 14 because we were both in plays and he invited me to a party at his house. 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.
Hensley: Oh, my God! What did you do?
Rapp: I squirmed away and went into the bathroom. I came out and I excused myself, and he’s like “You sure you want to go?” I always wonder if he remembers it, because he was pretty drunk. And he’s had so many.
Now Rapp said he’s telling BuzzFeed the complete story, without names redacted, because he’s emboldened by the downfall of Harvey Weinstein and wants “to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent.”
Spacey did not comment for the BuzzFeed story, only issuing his statement after it was published. Reaction on social media includes people claiming the BuzzFeed story is representative of yet another open secret in Hollywood. Many say they're worried the coming out of one of Hollywood's biggest stars will overshadow the seriousness of the accusation being made, and whether it is part of a larger Hollywood problem.
James Van Der Beek, the star of the teen drama Dawson's Creek, said “I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger.” And an agent named Tyler Grasham was fired last week by APA Agency after actors came forward who said they were invited to meet when very young and then plied with alcohol before becoming victim to Grasham's unwanted sexual advances.
“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.
“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. "I was like, 'What is happening?'” he said. “I saw on the counter next to the sink a picture of him having his arm around a man. So I think on some level I was like, Oh. He's gay. I guess. 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 he walked home, “My head was spinning,” Rapp said. “I have a memory of turning around and [thinking], What was that? What am I supposed to do with it? What does it mean?”
He paused. "The older I get, and the more I know, I feel very fortunate that something worse didn't happen," he said. "And at the same time, the older I get, the more I can't believe it. I could never imagine [that] anyone else I know would do something like that to a 14-year-old boy."