Rumors of Kevin Spacey’s sexual preference have run rampant in the acting community for years, and his choice to remain silent and keep his personal life quiet has been respected throughout his career, as well it should. But after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of climbing on top of him on bed in 1986 when Rapp was 14 years old and Spacey was 26, Spacey chose that moment as the time to publicly come out as a gay man. PROOF has publicly commended Rapp for sharing his story and we will continue to do so. It takes bravery, courage and a certain selflessness to share such a story, especially when there was nothing, legally, “in it for him” (more about that below). Rapp said he was inspired to share his story “not to simply air a grievance, but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent.” The decades worth of accusations against some of the most powerful names in Hollywood from producer Harvey Weinstein to directors Brett Ratner to James Toback, appear to have fueled Rapp’s decision, as he added, “Part of what allowed the Harvey situation to occur was that there was this witting and unwitting conspiracy of silence. The only way these things can continue is if there’s no attention being paid to it, if it’s getting forgotten.” We wholly agree with Rapp.
We also agree with the widespread criticism of Spacey apology, in which, for some odd reason, he felt like there was no better time to acknowledge the longstanding rumors of his homosexuality. It was neither wise nor helpful to his career and seemed as a move to attempt to deflect from the real accusations at issue. For us, Spacey’s statement was made even weaker when he linked it to drunken behavior, “I owe (Rapp) the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” The fallout from the accusation has been immediate. Though Spacey’s highly regarded Netflix series, House of Cards, was allegedly going to end after the current season that is shooting, production has come out with a definitive statement and announced that it will in fact conclude. Also, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said that it would no longer honor Spacey with the 2017 Emmy Founders Award.
But as for the legal consequences for his actions toward a 14 year old Rapp? Zero. Nothing. The statute of limitations in New York, where the incident occurred, has long run on both a criminal and a civil action. Law enforcement will not investigate in a way that would lead to Spacey facing criminal charges and Rapp cannot file a lawsuit and seek any type of compensation–despite the years of emotional pain and suffering–not that Rapp has referenced in any way that he was after any type of compensation. A bill in New York to repeal the statute of limitations on civil suits for victims of child molestation has been stalled for quite some time. Perhaps Rapp’s story will help push it forward. We certainly hope so as we at PROOF strongly believe in a victim’s right to confront his/her accuser in a court of law and seek resolution, solace, and a modicum of peace through the justice system.
Watch this PROOF video to learn more about sexual assaults and statute of limitations.