Kevin Spacey: Disgraced star defends coming out as gay after being accused of sexual misconduct

Kevin Spacey arrives at Southwark Crown Court.

Kevin Spacey has defended the decision to come out as gay on the same day the first accusation of sexual misconduct against him came to light.

The 63-year-old American Beauty actor is currently standing trial at Southwark Crown Court in London for a number of sexual assault charges against him. He has denied all charges.

On 29 October 2017, Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp became the first man to accuse Spacey of sexual misconduct, alleging that Spacey had drunkenly got on top of him at a party in 1986, when Rapp was just 14.

Last year, a New York court threw out Rapp’s allegations and found Spacey “not liable” for any damages.

On the same day that Rapp came forward with his allegations via a Buzzfeed article, Spacey responded by coming out as gay, writing in a statement: “I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”

At the time, celebrities including Wanda Sykes, George Takei and Billy Eichner condemned Spacey for “choosing to hide under the rainbow” and deflecting from the allegations. 

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GLAAD boss Sarah Kate Ellis also said at the time that “coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault”, while a witness at the London trial last week told the court that he felt it was “so insensitive” that Spacey tried to avoid “taking ownership”.

Defending the decision to come out when he did, Spacey said that there was “a rush to judgement” after Rapp’s allegations, and he therefore felt “under a lot of pressure” to reveal his sexuality.

“Before the first question was asked or answered I lost my job, I lost my reputation, I lost everything in a matter of days,” he told the court on Thursday (13 July).

“I was under a lot of pressure that I had to say something. If I didn’t it was going to be a nightmare, a PR nightmare.

“Members of the LGTBQ+ community were upset because I came out while I was responding to an accusation … now I understand why it was read that way but I hadn’t put those two things together,” he said. “It wasn’t how I intended it.”

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey has been called a ‘sexual bully’ and a ‘predator’ by the prosecution in his sexual assault trial. (Getty Images)

Spacey said that some members of his team were not in favour of him coming out at the time of Rapp’s allegations, but after taking a vote, it was decided that he should do so.

“I thought in the face of this terrible accusation maybe I can do something at least positive,” Spacey added.

The House of Cards actor, who had been forced to deny rumours that was gay throughout his career, revealed that he had planned on coming out at an unspecified event at some point during 2015.

“The gay community had been pressuring me for a very long time about coming out,” he said.

“Maybe now that the allegation against Mr Anthony Rapp has been proven to be false, maybe people will read that with a little bit more understanding now.”

Kevin Spacey allegations

Kevin Spacey is currently on trial accused of 12 charges of sexual misconduct against four men, including sexual assault, indecent assault and causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

All alleged offences reportedly took place in the UK between 2001 and 2013, while Spacey was working at The Old Vic theatre in London.

In January this year, the Oscar winner pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual assault, three counts of indecent assault, and one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

He has also denied four other charges of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.

Earlier on in the trial, Spacey was accused by prosecutor Christine Agnew KC of being a “sexual bully” whose “preferred method of assault is to grab aggressively other men in the crotch”.

Spacey has since denied that crotch-grabbing is his “trademark”, saying that he “may have touched” one of the alleged victims but would not call it a “crotch grab”.

The trial continues.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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