Major media outlets have been accused of a ‘disgusting’ portrayal of Kevin Spacey’s apology on Sunday, after the actor was accused of sexually harassing actor Anthony Rapp when he was 14.
Reports from major news agencies, broadcasters and tabloids including Reuters, the Associated Press, ABC and the New York Daily News, led their coverage with the fact Spacey had “come out as gay”, rather than the A-lister acknowledging and apologised for the incident - albeit with the caveat that he could “not remember the encounter”.
Star Trek: Discovery actor Rapp alleged in a BuzzFeed News article that Spacey, then 26, climbed on top of him at a party.
In his statement, Spacey offered Rapp his “sincerest apologies” for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour”, before going to confirm that he is in fact gay. The latter point also prompted criticism due to the circumstances surrounding the acknowledgement.
Many on responded to media coverage of the Spacey apology by schooling the “irresponsible” outlets on what the angle should have been.
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Commenters also took issue with the way the alleged assault was characterized as an “advance”, claimed Spacey used his coming out to detract from Rapp’s accusation and slated it as “the worst apology I’ve ever seen”.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp described attending a party hosted by Spacey in 1986 where he claimed the actor picked him up, brought him to a bed and laid down on top of him after other guests left.
Rapp, who said he had the impression Spacey was drunk, pushed him away and left.
Spacey, 58, who has won Oscars for “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” said in his statement that Rapp’s story “has encouraged me to address other things in my life”.
“I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I now choose to live life as a gay man,” Spacey wrote.
“I want to deal with this honestly and openly,” he said, “and that starts with me examining my own behavior.”
The actor for years had declined to address rumours about his sexuality.
Rapp, who went on to star in the Broadway musical “Rent,” was starting his career on Broadway at the time of the incident.
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 theatre company.
Hollywood and some top US companies have been rocked in recent weeks by allegations from scores of women that executives had sexually harassed them in the wake of the Harvery Weinstein scandal.
The movie mogul has been accused by numerous women of having sexually harassed or assaulted them in incidents dating back to the 1980s, including some who said they were raped.
Weinstein denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.
He has since been fired as chief executive of The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded and has which been one of Hollywood’s most influential forces since its launch in October 2005.