After years of refusing to address rumors about his sexuality, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey said on Sunday he has chosen to live his life as a gay man.
Spacey, 58, who won Oscars for “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” made the declaration in a post on Twitter.
He apologized to fellow actor Anthony Rapp in the same post for an incident Rapp said occurred in 1986. Rapp, who went on to star in the Broadway musical “Rent,” was 14 at the time and starting his career.
Spacey said he was “horrified” to hear Rapp’s story of the encounter, which he said “I honestly do not remember” because it occurred more than 30 years ago. He also said he owed Rapp a “sincere apology” for what he said would have been “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
Rapp’s story “has encouraged me to address other things in my life,” Spacey wrote. “I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I now choose to live life as a gay man.”
“I want to deal with this honestly and openly,” he said, “and that starts with me examining my own behavior.”
Spacey’s apology to Rapp unleashed a flood of negative reactions on Twitter. Some observers who were shocked that Spacey took the opportunity to talk about his own sexuality in the midst of the accusation of underage sexual assault.
“Savage Love” writer and “It Gets Better” creator Dan Savage strongly condemned his statement, saying “There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away asssaulting a 14-year-old child.”
Nope to Kevin Spacey's statement. Nope. There's no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child.
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) October 30, 2017
“Billy on the Street” host Billy Eichner left it at a succinct “Nope. Absolutely Not.”
That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 30, 2017
Rose McGowan, who was instrumental in helping to reveal the sexual assaults committed by Harvey Weinstein, reminded that the focus should be on the victim, not the accused.
Dear fellow media:
Keep focus on #AnthonyRapp BE THE VICTIM'S VOICE. Help us level the playing field.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 30, 2017
Comedian-writer Guy Branum called it a “PR smokescreen.”
The classiest way to come out of the closet is as a PR smokescreen to distract people from the fact that you tried to molest a child.
— Guy Branum (@guybranum) October 30, 2017
Rapp described in an interview attending a party hosted by Spacey in which the actor picked him up, brought him to a bed and lay down on top of him after other guests left. Rapp, who said he had the impression Spacey was drunk, said he pushed him away and left.
Spacey, a Tony Award winner for “Lost in Yonkers,” stars in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.” He also served for 10 years as artistic director of London’s Old Vic theater company.