By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
The autumn of 2017 has seen an increase in the amount of sexual assault cases being brought to light.
Partly thanks to the trending hashtag #MeToo, women (and men) are becoming more comfortable identifying the pain they’ve suffered from sexual assault and are using their experiences to support each other.
From Harvey Weinstein to George H.W. Bush, high-profile figures have been exposed as sexual offenders and predators.
As you are probably aware, Kevin Spacey was recently accused by actor Anthony Rapp of making inappropriate sexual advances towards him when he was just 14.
Directly after the accusation, Kevin Spacey addressed the news on Twitter by vaguely apologizing and coming out as gay at the same time.
This brought the same consequences that came with other cases of sexual assault. Many condemned his actions, his career has been somewhat tarnished, and Netflix canned its original show House of Cards, one of its most successful and respected programs.
Due to the novelty (not an excellent word for this scenario, but the meaning remains) of this specific type of case in Hollywood, being homosexual assault, many different kinds of criticism came Spacey’s way.
For one, most people were very upset that he chose this moment to come out of the closet. For one, it seems like he used his coming out news as a cross between an excuse for his behavior and a distraction from it.
Also, the fact that he addressed both issues at the same time links the life of a gay man and pedophilia, which is a connection no one wants to make.
This news also makes it hard to revisit American Beauty, Kevin Spacey’s award winning movie where he plays a man who’s attracted to a young teenage girl.
It seemed like Anthony Rapp’s incident might have been the only stain on Spacey’s record, but then more men came forward, claiming the actor had groped them and a number of other things.
These men came from the Old Vic Theater in London, where Spacey was artistic director for 11 years.
Director Tony Montana claimed Spacey sexually assaulted him at a bar in 2003.
The big concern in this instance is not so much stopping older white men from being predatory, but because Kevin Spacey connected the assault accusations to his homosexuality, the concern has become the implications for the gay community.
A large chunk of the right side of politics claims that homosexuality and transgender-ness is a natural path to molestation, rape, and pedophilia. It’s an entirely baseless claim, but this news throws a tiny spark onto the argument.
From what I’ve seen, the left has been more rabid to defend the gay community than the right has been to attack it. I’ve seen a few articles about how “gay men aren’t like Kevin Spacey” while I haven’t seen any claiming they are. Not even Breitbart, the king of far-right news, had any gay-bashing headlines about the accusations.
Meanwhile, I saw an opinion article from famed English newspaper The Guardian, headlined, “Shame on you, Kevin Spacey! You’ve fueled a vicious lie about gay people.”
I don’t know if I’d call the act of gay sexual harassment a “lie” as much as a “stereotype,” but that’s besides the point.
The point is, Kevin Spacey does not represent gay men, and fortunately, I think America understands that, for the most part.
We don’t have to run to his defense on the part of the gay community; we can condemn his actions without simultaneously insulting gay men or making them seem dangerous.
This is only one sexual assault incident involving a gay man against dozens and dozens of accounts of famous straight men, especially in recent months. The reputation of the gay community is still clean; Spacey is just an outlier.
So, to the left, you can calm down and stop equating this incident with gay stereotyping. To the right, for those of you who are saying Kevin Spacey proves gay men are pedophiles, stop.
Let’s all come together and agree that anyone who sexually assaults, whether gay or straight, is an asshole.