On Kevin Spacey, Sexual Assault, And Why We Cannot Afford To Make Excuses Anymore

Paul Hudson

The recent happenings and controversies surrounding Hollywood is just a testament of how good media is at marginalizing voices. Kevin Spacey took someone else’s trauma and made it about him, but he came out as gay and that’s all it takes for people to be distracted from all the allegations against him. In fact, in how he did it, it almost serves as an excuse as to why he did it, further perpetuating the stereotypes that gay people are predatory pedophiles.

Spacey, in his statement, claimed that he doesn’t remember the incident, as it was 30 years ago, but then goes on to blame his drunkenness for his actions. It’s almost ironic how he doesn’t remember the act of sexual misconduct, but he remembers being drunk. Being drunk does not excuse anyone’s actions. It does not matter if it has been 30 years, he still should be held responsible. Anthony Rapp has been living with this for 30 years while Spacey has been moving on with his life, becoming a huge success on the stage and screen.

While the topic of Spacey’s sexuality has been of speculation for many years (and it really hasn’t been any of our business), now was not the appropriate time to come out. His coming out coinciding with the allegations being put against him, all in the same statement, is a detractor for all the LGBTQ+ community has worked for in the last several decades.

In our society, and with the kind of media we have today, the normalization of reacting to hearing someone accused of rape has typically been one of caution, of “Let’s wait to see how the evidence plays out,” because in people’s mind, they know how devastating a rape accusation can be to any regular man let alone to someone who is a Hollywood A-Lister actor. It can ruin him forever. But where the media failed miserably in this assessment, is that they’ve been more concerned of the abuser’s own sanctity, safety, and suffering than of someone who has already suffered, who has come out and said their agency has been taken away from them. It seems like the media haven’t realized how callous it would be for the victim to go to someone and tell them, “Let’s just let the legal process carry itself out because so much is at stake.” Besides being insulting and hurtful, what this does is immediately debase and place doubt upon the victim’s claim, and that is an egregious error on media’s part.

One of the, if not, the most important thing I have learned from this wave of victims coming out with their stories, with the #MeToo campaign, is that when someone is brave enough to go public with what is the most humiliating and denigrating experience a human can go through, they deserve our belief in them. That is the first and most vital step we can take in combating sexual predators.

With all the accusations happening in Hollywood and everywhere, the media should start to understand three important things:

The person and their art are two different things.

Even Hitler had astonishing paintings. We can’t and must not feel guilty of enjoying art itself before knowing the artist, for art is the purest form of shaping up the world into something better. However, with that said, it is inexcusable allowing such sickening and horrendous behaviors to happen and ART IS NOT, IN ANY WAY, AN EXCUSE for doing such atrocities.

While their art might be good, it can’t and must not be an exit for them to flee from justice. No contribution to art, or science, or history can be allowed to blind people’s eyes into seeing how horrible can anyone with a little bit of power be. Art is not an excuse for anyone to be allowed to rape, force or harm, and continue working. As good as they can be as artists, they shall be judged and prosecuted like anyone else who commits horrible acts hiding behind their power, for they are, without the power given to them, nothing but scared, insecure humans.

Using what they call “art” to force themselves upon anyone, is a mere profanation of what art is.

Stop protecting predators who hide behind the rainbow.

Spacey’s audacity to try and bend people’s opinions to his side by coming out as gay is just utterly offensive. And the media focusing more on his gayness rather than him being a predator is not less than problematic. One’s sexuality shouldn’t make anything about said situation any better.

Much of modern society’s morals and ethics are taught in the form of often subtle propaganda or brainwashing, from an industry that produces more high profile sexual predators per capita than any other profession by far. Something to think about the next time you watch a movie or turn on the TV.

Tactically speaking, it’s a smart move to do so to gain support from LGBTQ+ community, but as soon as you take into consideration Rapp’s sexuality, the argument just makes everyone mad about the fact that such an act gives power to homophobic stereotypes.

If true, what Spacey has done is a crime against ethics. What he has done is unjustifiable by any sane person. What he has done is disgusting and damaging to reputation of every member of LGBTQ+ community.

Examine the language in your reports and articles when sexual abuse survivors speak up.

It is not about getting it “right” or “wrong”; it is about simply believing survivors and most times it doesn’t even require a spoken response.

It takes a lot of courage to come out and accuse someone. When it comes to rape and sexual assault, our culture of power and toxic masculinity has always given the benefit of the doubt to the man. Even if we present a photo of a woman battered to a bloody pulp, somewhere in that discussion a man will bring up that something must have provoked that violent response.

“She’s out to get his money.”
“She pushed him too far.”

These powerful men are suddenly powerless to their own impulses.

No. It’s that very power which drives their impulses, and it needs to be put in check by actually having rapists and assaulters held accountable for their actions. A coward like Kevin Spacey did things that deserve ire and jail time, and the longer we forgive him because of his artistic brilliance and sexuality, the more we perpetuate the culture of toxic masculinity and sexual assault. This is a statement of basic human decency. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

An artist, writer, editor, and feminist based in the Philippines.

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