Gay Israeli media personality and activist Gal Uchovsky writes about Kevin Spacey’s shameful coming out after the story of actor Anthony Rapp was revealed.
Kevin Spacey is a wonderful actor. Really. There are very few actors in the world with his abilities. His Oscar role in American Beauty, and of course his presidential role in House of Cards, are all that need to be seen to understand his greatness. But Kevin Spacey is a shitty guy, too. His coming out, after the story of actor Anthony Rapp was revealed, is one of the most shameful coming out stories of all time. I have a feeling that more stories about Spacey will pop up in the next few days.
Before discussing the current story, we should look at Spacey’s private history, in a way that, to this day, because of the closet, was impossible to write. Spacey was at the beginning of his career, in the 1980s, a Broadway theater actor. It was another era when theater actors had almost no media exposure, so they didn’t bother to hide their sexual orientation. Everyone in Broadway knew him as gay. Not bisexual, not undecided – gay. It was no secret.
It soon became clear that Spacey was more than just an actor. He is an outstanding actor. He began starring in Hollywood films, such as “Working Girl” and in 1995 was already nominated for an Oscar for “The Usual Suspects.” At the same time, the media’s interest in his personal life has begun. But then Spacey made a turn and announced that his private life was nobody’s business, and that he was not gay. This forced return to the closet, in an era when many began to come out, has become a kind of “issue” in America. It peaked in a cover story for the magazine Esquire, whose title was “Kevin Spacey has a secret,” and opened with a description of a telephone conversation between the reporter and his older mother who called to ask if “it’s true that Kevin Spacey is gay.”
In America, like in America, and in Hollywood, like in Hollywood, the greedy PR systems that worked against the conservative media managed to hide this. At one point they even invented a girlfriend for him, and he thanked her on the Oscar stage. This is also the reason why his coming out on Twitter was diplomatically phrased. He explains that there were both women and men in his life, but today he “chooses to live as a gay man.” Which is in easy translation: he may have had a girlfriend in high school that he also kissed. Since then he has been gay, living like a gay man, but only now he’s coming out of the closet.
There’s something pitiable about Spacey’s coming out of the closet. This man belongs to the kind of heavy closeted people. Anyone who meets them knows they are gay. They also act as gay at public events, but force the media to swallow their lies. And the conservative and somewhat homophobic media sometimes swallows it. I met Spacey twice in my life, once at the Tribeca Festival in New York and another time at the Toronto Festival in Canada. Both times he’d been walking around with younger men who looked like his boyfriends, and were obviously gay. I also know an amusing story about a very handsome, straight Israeli actor who met him at a bar in New York after a show, and escaped at the last minute, after Spacey’s hands began to wander on his back. I obviously do not share this to show off, but to explain how much it was known to all.
Kevin Spacey is an excellent example of media hypocrisy, which also exists in Israel. For example, journalist Yael Dan, who over the years has expressed a firm stance against putting pressure on celebrities to come out of the closet. And I always asked why she and her likes in the United States show so much empathy for strong people like Kevin Spacey and their “privacy” and have no empathy for the boys and girls in the periphery that coming out of the closet of this size star can strengthen their hands and plant confidence in them which they so sorely needed.
Spacey had a million opportunities to come out of the closet. For example, after the horrific murder of Matthew Shepherd or the terrible massacre in Orlando. Or even after the gay scenes in the “House of Cards.” But Spacey had only come up with a half-smile joke at the Tony Awards. MK Itzik Shmuli, for example, was so shocked by the murder of Shira Banki, that it made him realized for the first time in his life that his desire for privacy is not the most important thing in the world. There’s also life and death. I guess that fifty people who were murdered in Orlando last year did not shock Spacey enough.
Anthony Rapp is a B-list American actor. He began acting at the age of 14, and recently has been starring in the television series “Star Trek”. If you see a picture of him, you might recognize him. The story he told this week to BuzzFeed, in a long and detailed interview, is rather horrific. It turns out that Spacey tried to have sex with him when he was 14. Rapp was then a boy – a young actor in his early days, who was hanging out with the older actors on Broadway. Spacey invited him to a party at his house, and at the end he tried to fondle him. Rapp ran away quickly, and Spacey didn’t do what he planned to.
Of course he did not tell anyone about it. But a few years later, from the early 1990s, he began telling the story to his friends and acquaintances. In 1992 he was bold enough to come out of the closet, although at that time it was considered something that could hurt an actor’s career. In 2001, he told the story to the gay magazine The Advocate. But the magazine, of course, removed any mention of Spacey’s name. This week, following the #MeToo wave, he decided it was time to air it out.
This is a particularly repulsive story that is bordering with pedophilia. What a 26 year old has to do with a 14 year old boy? It’s the kind of thing that people go to jail for, and rightly so. And it’s even more repulsive because Spacey is one of those people who somehow clung onto the closet, and found no way to support their community, even when they were strong, famous, and nobody could doubt them. His punishment now is that not only he had to come out of the closet under sexual harassment claim, but he also got the disgusting aura of a pedophile. In the United States, a wave of hate has already begun against him, with celebrities and activists claiming that not only does he come out of the closet in a disgraceful manner, he is also complicating the community again against the claim that all gays are pedophiles.
What does it mean? Apart from Spacey being a shit? That this is our world. Like Harvey Weinstein, he’s on the one hand a huge talent, and on the other a big shit. I don’t know if there will be any more stories like this about Spacey, and what it will do to his career, but it is reasonable to assume that Anthony Rapp was not the only one Spacey tried to attack. I hope that the other stories, if they arise, will be at least with adults. And as I have already said, it’s time that the LGBT community will also start discussing authority relationships and sexual harassment, especially of young people, and all the things that tend to be hidden under a carpet. The truth is that, by now, we are strong enough to deal with it.
Yes, so Kevin Spacey is gay with a pedophile event in his life. He’s going to have to deal with it. We’re going to be fine.
Gal Uchovsky is a TV personality, film maker, journalist and gay activist. Mr. Uchovsky is co-founder of IGY, Israeli Gay Youth Organization he established in 2002 with Yaniv Waizman. The organization has since become the biggest and strongest LGBT organization in the country.
The monthly gay magazine Pink Time named Uchovsky in 2010 “The most influential LGBT person in Israel”.