Deflection of allegations perpetuates archaic stereotype surrounding gay men
Julian Ensz // Contributor
Any relatively queer-literate person who’s encountered Kevin Spacey knows the guy doesn’t exactly scream straight. The guy’s talent is unquestionable, but his demeanour has often left his audience creeped out or even feeling a little violated. Given the wave of allegations against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, and recently more of Hollywood’s biggest names, it comes as little surprise that Kevin Spacey is thrown into the mix.
Following Anthony Rapp’s accusation of Spacey’s sexual advances in 1986 — when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26 — 20 men have come forward against Spacey with similar stories of sexual aggression. While his alleged actions were vile, his apology posted on Twitter was just as disturbing.
Had he stuck with just an apology, perhaps Spacey would’ve had a shot at redemption down the road, but he didn’t stop there. He continued on, saying that he now “chose” to live as a gay man. This created massive outrage, not only with the queer community, but the larger public as well. Did he think that his “choice” to live life as a gay man excused him for his actions? Perhaps it would have been more appropriate for him to come out as dyslexic, mistaking the 14-year-old for 41.
As a member of the queer community myself, being raised in a small conservative BC city wasn’t a walk in the park. It wasn’t uncommon to encounter distasteful points of view or ideologies that don’t support anything that differs from the nuclear family dynamic — much of which stems from traditional Christian beliefs.
A common theme among this crowd is to view the gay man as a predator; a sexual deviant, even. Spacey’s statement is nocuous. It not only strengthens this notion, but suggests that sexuality is a choice and that the assault could be excusable. His word choice of “choosing” to live as a gay man is unforgivable. It has been an ongoing battle for gay men and women to have heteronormative folks understand that given the choice, we would not choose to be in a marginalized group. But there isn’t a real choice if you want to live honestly.
Queer Students Liaison Kaschelle Thiessen sees the entire Spacey scandal as more of a display of intersectional inequality. “For far too long homosexuality has been associated with pedophilia and Spacey’s attempt to deflect from his crimes took away from the strides made by queer communities to normalize same-sex relationships. This conversation, however, can’t happen without also acknowledging the intersections of sexism and homophobia which changed the public response… it doesn’t excuse his abuses but it begs the question, why do we only accept accusations of sexual assault when the perpetrator is gay and the victim is a man?”
For Thiessen the issue is on a social level. It’s the issue of race, gender and sexuality. Bill Cosby, black. Harvey Weinstein, Jewish. Kevin Spacey, gay.
Spacey’s poor attempt at victimizing himself through his Twitter statement proves his gutless nature. Right now, much of society deems him guilty until proven innocent, and hopefully the repercussions following this scandal can amount to a fraction of the trauma he’s caused his victims. While his role in American Beauty won him both an Oscar and British Academy of Film and Television Arts award, 18 years later we learn that his heterosexuality was the only real acting.