Kevin Spacey is being criticized for “hiding under the rainbow” after he came out in the same statement in which he apologized for alleged unwanted sexual advances towards actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was just 14.
In an interview with BuzzFeed published Sunday, Rapp, now 46, alleged then-26-year-old Spacey invited him to his Manhattan apartment for a party in 1986. (They were both starring in hit Broadway plays at the time.) Rapp says he was the only teen at the party and spent most of the evening in a bedroom watching television. After the party ended, he said, Spacey came into the room, picked him up and laid “down on top of me…he was trying to seduce me”
After apologizing for the alleged incident — “if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” Spacey, 58, wrote — the House of Cards star came out as gay.
“This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life,” Spacey’s statement continues. “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 closes to me know, in my life, I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic relationships 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.”
However, many celebrities — some in the LGBT community — were critical of the statement.
“No no no no no! You do not get to ‘choose’ to hide under the rainbow!” comedian Wanda Sykes, who came out as a lesbian in 2008, wrote on Twitter. “Kick rocks!”
Actress Rose McGowan, who recently claimed she was raped by producer Harvey Weinstein, wrote, “Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it’s your turn to cry, that’s why we’ve gotta say goodbye.” Weinstein has repeatedly denied having nonconsensual sex.
Billy Eichner approached the situation with humor before condemning Spacey’s statement.
“Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Imagine the Astros walking off the field only to find out Kevin Spacey is gay. The shock of it all,” the comedian added, referencing the World Series game. “But honestly I hesitate to make jokes because the Spacey statement is truly disgusting, irresponsible and dangerous. Ok goodnight!”
Actor Zachary Quinto tweeted, “It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how kevin spacey has chosen to come out.”
“Being gay should never be equated with sexual assault or pedophilia. Thanks for giving the homophobes more ammo #KevinSpacey. 🙄” tweeted Lance Bass.
House of Cards creator Beau Willimon meanwhile called the allegations “troubling” in a statement to PEOPLE.
Comedian Cameron Esposito added, “Just wanna be really f–ing clear that being gay has nothing to do w/ going after underage folks.”
“Anthony Rapp had the courage to speak out about something that was obviously deeply traumatizing to him. And that’s also the thing we all have to remember, Kevin’s issues aside, that we have to keep talking about this,” said Scandal‘s Tony Goldwyn on Monday’s The Talk. “Because that’s the silver lining in what’s been going on the past couple of weeks is things that have been shameful to people who have been victimized, we now have their backs to say: ‘You can talk about it.’ They’re not the ones who need to be ashamed. And predators need to be accountable.”
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear his story,” Spacey said in the statement posted on his Twitter account late Sunday night.
“I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I a sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Rapp, who now stars in Star Trek: Discovery, told BuzzFeed, “He was trying to seduce me. I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”
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Rapp previously shared this story with The Advocate in 2001 but declined to name Spacey at the time. He tweeted Sunday that he decided to come forward with his story because of people who have come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment in recent weeks following the allegations made against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.
“I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out,” Rapp tweeted, “to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me.”