How Kevin Spacey’s ‘Coming Out’ Grossly Conflates Pedophilia and Homosexuality

Ira Madison III is an entertainment writer at The Daily Beast. He has written for MTV News, Vulture, BuzzFeed, Noisey, and can also be seen in GQ. He's well versed in every soap opera your mother has ever watched and has a Hall & Oates tattoo.

On Sunday night, BuzzFeed News published an account from Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp alleging that Kevin Spacey made sexual advances toward him when he was 14 years old.

Spacey, who has dodged rumors that he’s gay for years—and even made a public mockery of coming out at this year’s Tony Awards—responded to the allegations by saying if he did do what Rapp alleges, then he apologizes for his “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” He then used his statement to come out of the closet, saying that he “chooses” to “live as a gay man.”

Who knew that the only thing worse than Spacey’s years of remaining in a glass closet would be his actual coming out?

In the ensuing days, many headlines will likely lead with the fact that Spacey has come out as a gay man. This is a calculated move from Spacey and a PR team that has handled rumors surrounding his sexuality for years. Spacey choosing now to come out, in order to spin Rapp’s sexual-assault allegation, is underhanded behavior worthy of his character Frank Underwood on House of Cards.

Spacey has changed the narrative of him allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old boy, put on Jamie Foxx’s “Blame it on the Alcohol,” and ended it with, “Oh, by the way, I’m gay!” There’s never truly a wrong time to come out and I’d never begrudge anyone for accepting their sexuality. But the seediness of using your coming out to deflect from a sexual-assault allegation is something else entirely. Already, headlines have ignored Rapp’s allegations for claptrap like ABC News’ since-edited story that at first read: “Kevin Spacey comes out in emotional tweet.” Several other outlets also led with the fact that Spacey has come out of the closet, rather than the fact that he came out in response to Rapp’s disturbing allegation. Beyond altering the narrative, Spacey’s statement grossly conflates pedophilia and homosexuality.

For Spacey to say, “if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” implies that when most gay men get drunk, it’s second nature for them to prey on a 14-year-old boy. It calls to mind hateful rhetoric like Anita Bryant’s 1977 Save Our Children campaign, which sought to associate gay men and child predators. Of gay men, Bryant infamously said, “Some of the stories I could tell you of child recruitment and child abuse by homosexuals would turn your stomach.”

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