In an article published on BuzzFeed on Sunday, Broadway star Anthony Rapp alleged that House Of Cards' Kevin Spacey once made a sexual advance toward him when he was just 14 years old.
Spacey, then 26, allegedly "befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him," according to the article.
Rapp, now 46, said he was able to "squirm" away, walk home, and never speak to Spacey again.
Spacey responded to Rapp's allegations via Twitter Sunday night, writing that he doesn't remember the moment Rapp describes, but that if it did happen, "I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."
It's what he said next, however, that really has the LGBTQ community on edge. "This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life," Spacey wrote. "I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man."
Usually, queer people will tell you one thing about coming out: There's no bad time to do it. Whenever and however a person chooses to disclose their sexuality is up to them. But, in this case, Spacey's choice to come out now — in the wake of these allegations — only furthers harmful stereotypes about queer people.
Pedophilia has long been conflated with queer sexuality, especially for gay men, and was once used to keep gay people from being teachers or boy scout troop leaders or in other roles where they'd have authority over children. Though we seem to have mostly gotten away from this misconception — the number of Americans who believed gay people are dangerous to children dropped from 70% in 1970 to 19% in 1999 — LGBTQ people are worried Spacey's coming out refuels this argument.
Others, like GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, are worried that Spacey's coming out will overshadow Rapp's story.
Ellis said in a statement on Twitter that we would all do well to remember that this isn't a story about Spacey being gay or coming out. This is a story of alleged sexual misconduct with a minor. The alleged perpetrator's sexuality didn't make him any more likely to pick up a 14-year-old boy, put him into bed, and lay on top of him — so instead of focusing on Spacey's sexual orientation, let's remember that Rapp's story is yet another voice in a long line of sexual assault allegations against men in Hollywood.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Read these stories next: