Hollywood needs to take allegations more seriously

Spacey allegations bring sexual harassment to light again


Written By Lauren Ortego, Co-Copy Desk Chief

Over the past month, accusations against Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein have been what seems to be an ever-constant flow. The multitude of allegations have brought to light the systematic sexual harassment that women in the industry face, and have faced for decades.

With that being said, last week, Anthony Rapp, best known for his role in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Rent,” recounted a story involving Kevin Spacey, a party and a life of agonizingly watching his predator rise to fame.

Following Rapp’s story, Spacey tweeted a short, two paragraph response in which he both denied remembering coming on to the then 14-year-old Rapp and came out as a gay man.

If you Google “worst times/ways to come out,” this story should show up at the top right after “your mom finding and reading your Grindr messages at the start of cuffing season.”

Sexual harassment is nothing to take lightly, especially the sexual harassment of a minor. Spacey was 26-years-old when he had the encounter with Rapp.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 63,000 children are sexually assaulted, abused and harassed every year. That equals out to one in nine girls experiencing sexual assault and one in 53 boys.

It’s inexcusable. Even if you were drunk.

I’ve been drunk, and I think a fair amount of people in this country can say the same, and many of us don’t suddenly feel the overwhelming need to sexually harass anyone, especially minors. And trust me, I’ve done some pretty ridiculous things when drunk, including splitting my dining room table in half more than once.

On top of excusing his own behavior, Spacey decided this was the best time to finally address what has been speculated for years – his sexuality.

It was a manipulative move.

Spacey knows that for as long as he’s been in the public eye, people have wanted to know how he sexually identifies, and for the same amount of time he has claimed that his private life is just that – private.

But he came to the conclusion that now was the right moment to finally say out loud that he is a gay man. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with him making this announcement to distract from the real problem of him sexually harassing a minor.

What’s even worse? It kind of worked.

The media obviously hopped on to this story, but the focus for many was Spacey being gay, not being creepy towards a young teenager. That highlights the problem, and why so many victims don’t feel like coming forward with their stories.

There are always arguments when someone with a name that holds weight is accused of anything like sexual assault, drug abuse, rape, etc. Arguments about whether or not the person making the accusations is telling the truth, or trying to get a nice chunk of change from a lawsuit. And that’s bad.

We should take accusations seriously, but when it’s a beloved person, we never want to, and that’s especially true with celebrities.

It took a lot for Rapp to tell his story; it’s been something that has haunted him for most of his life. It became increasingly worse as he realized that Spacey was not going away, and in fact gained fame as the decades went on.

I know there are people out there who ask why victims don’t come forward as soon as it happens, or wait long periods of time. The bullying that comes afterwards, the people trying to invalidate your experience, having to face your harasser or abuser, all of it can be overwhelming.

Hollywood has a problem, and no, it’s not cocaine (okay, maybe it’s cocaine). Sexual harassment needs to be addressed. Rapp expressed in the Buzzfeed News article that broke the story that he hopes coming forward can help others who have had similar experiences come forward, as well.

And it worked.

Eight people have now told stories mirroring Rapp’s experience with Spacey, and society did its job.

Since then, Spacey has been dropped by his publicist, filming for his Netflix series “House of Cards” has been suspended for the time being and a Netflix original film he was involved with has had its release postponed.

Spacey was essentially shut out of Hollywood following the stories, and it has been both shocking and refreshing.

I can’t wait to see Kevin James replace him.