Major media outlets have been accused of a ‘disgusting’ portrayal of Kevin Spacey’s apology on Sunday, after the actor was accused of sexually harassing actor Anthony Rapp when he was 14.
Reports from major news agencies, broadcasters and tabloids including Reuters, the Associated Press, ABC and the New York Daily News, led their coverage with the fact Spacey had “come out as gay”, rather than the A-lister acknowledging and apologised for the incident – albeit with the caveat that he could “not remember the encounter”.
Star Trek: Discovery actor Rapp alleged in a BuzzFeed News article that Spacey, then 26, climbed on top of him at a party.
In his statement, Spacey offered Rapp his “sincerest apologies” for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour”, before going to confirm that he is in fact gay. The latter point also prompted criticism due to the circumstances surrounding the acknowledgement.
Many on responded to media coverage of the Spacey apology by schooling the “irresponsible” outlets on what the angle should have been.
The New York Daily News too? Add them to AP, Reuters, ABC News. Awful. https://t.co/gCy2Hw50uZ
Kevin Spacey announced Sunday night that he will “live as a gay man” https://t.co/7G8C25sdSE
Actor Kevin Spacey declares he lives life as a gay man https://t.co/5cP3xh1MwI
Actor Kevin Spacey apologizes on Twitter after actor accuses him of past harassment. https://t.co/eSRc0mrtSm
No, @ap. Spacey was accused of trying to sexually assault a 14-yr-old boy. WTF? https://t.co/uZ8HCT2gAu
Wait. This is how @abcnews frames the Kevin Spacey issue? What??? Cc @yashar pic.twitter.com/6jsRquNHEg
@ABC you are ENTIRELY missing the point. Why are you highlighting the deflection??
Dear fellow media: Keep focus on #AnthonyRapp BE THE VICTIM’S VOICE. Help us level the playing field.
thank you for doing this. it gets exhausting trying to correct this horrible stuff
Commenters also took issue with the way the alleged assault was characterized as an “advance”, claimed Spacey used his coming out to detract from Rapp’s accusation and slated it as “the worst apology I’ve ever seen”.
Almost as bad as leading with the coming out part is the characterization of sexual assault as sexual advances
Well done Kev. You stay silent on your sexuality until the time comes when you can conflate it with an alleged sexual assault on a minor.
Dan Savage on Spacey: “I’m sorry, Mr. Spacey, but your application to join the gay community at this time has been denied.” https://t.co/iHe4IOmfBh
“I may or may not have sexually assaulted a minor.” You had all night to work on this. That’s the best you could come up with? https://t.co/gfhujWt78R
I keep rereading this statement and getting angrier. Coming out is a beautiful part of being gay. Attaching it to this vileness is so wrong.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp described attending a party hosted by Spacey in 1986 where he claimed the actor picked him up, brought him to a bed and laid down on top of him after other guests left.
Rapp, who said he had the impression Spacey was drunk, pushed him away and left.
Spacey, 58, who has won Oscars for “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” said in his statement that Rapp’s story “has encouraged me to address other things in my life”.
“I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I now choose to live life as a gay man,” Spacey wrote.
“I want to deal with this honestly and openly,” he said, “and that starts with me examining my own behavior.”
The actor for years had declined to address rumours about his sexuality.
Rapp, who went on to star in the Broadway musical “Rent,” was starting his career on Broadway at the time of the incident.
Spacey, a Tony Award winner for “Lost in Yonkers,” stars in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.” He also served for 10 years as artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre company.
Hollywood and some top US companies have been rocked in recent weeks by allegations from scores of women that executives had sexually harassed them in the wake of the Harvery Weinstein scandal.
The movie mogul has been accused by numerous women of having sexually harassed or assaulted them in incidents dating back to the 1980s, including some who said they were raped.
Weinstein denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.
He has since been fired as chief executive of The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded and has which been one of Hollywood’s most influential forces since its launch in October 2005.