Anthony Rapp publicly accused Kevin Spacey of making sexual advances on him when he was just 14 years old, according to Buzzfeed. At the time of the alleged assault, Spacey was 26, and now at 58 years old, the “House of Cards” star responded by coming out as gay.
Spacey tweeted on Monday Oct. 30, “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are other stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy,” and also claiming, "I choose now to live as a gay man.”
Such a reaction is unacceptable and perpetuates dangerous and false stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community and gay men in particular. Homosexuality has been, “routinely criticized … as harmful to children by conservative policy groups,” and many individuals against gay marriage protest that it can “lead to child molestation,” according to The Washington Post.
This ideal is further seen in the exclusion of gay men from being Boy Scout Leaders, which was only overturned in 2015, according to CNN. It is obscene that a male being gay is equated with being a child molester, and this stereotype must be combatted with full force.
In light of sexual assault victims coming forward due to the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, it is evident now more than ever that the sexual assault of young individuals is not restricted to one sexuality. Many of the individuals telling their stories are young females who were assaulted by straight men in positions of power. Sexual assault, however, is a widespread problem and targeting only one group of individuals does not solve the issue —holding perpetrators, such as Spacey, responsible—does.
The media have rightfully called out Spacey on using his coming out to distract from his criminal and immoral behavior. Gay men are already equated with the pedophile stereotype. Spacey connecting his sexuality with pedophilic molestation is socially irresponsible and could have widespread negative effects on the progress the LGBTQ+ community has previously made.
Activist Ashlee Marie Preston tweeted, “I'm not interested in Kevin Spacey being gay. I'm curious as to why we're conflating sexuality w/ the molestation of a minor. Stay on topic,” reports CNN.
It is imperative to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as Anthony Rapp specifically. It must be made clear that Spacey’s wrongdoings are his own responsibility and do not reflect the actions or ideals of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.