LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork/CBSLA.com/CBS News/AP) — Over the weekend, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey was accused of making a sexual advance on a fellow actor, Anthony Rapp, when Rapp was just 14 years old.
As CBS2’s Dana Tyler reported, Spacey responded in a tweet Monday. But the apology was met with a huge backlash.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey met and befriended him while they both performed on Broadway shows back in 1986. At the time, Rapp was starring in the Broadway run of “Precious Sons” with Ed Harris and Judith Ivey, while Spacey was appearing with Jack Lemmon in a revival of “Long Day’s Journey into Night.”
Rapp said Spacey first invited him and his 17-year-old friend to the old Limelight nightclub at Sixth Avenue and 20th Street, and they got in even though Rapp said he “looked younger than 14.”
Rapp said while at Limelight, Spacey, then 26, invited him to a party at his Manhattan apartment a few days later, and he went alone. Rapp said he was bored at the party and ended up watching TV in the bedroom until past midnight – but then Spacey walked in after everyone else had left.
“My memory was that I thought, ‘Oh, everybody’s gone. Well, yeah, I should probably go home,’” Rapp was quoted by BuzzFeed. Rapp said Spacey “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.”
Rapp told the publication he did not remember Spacey saying anything, but said Spacey “picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”
Rapp told BuzzFeed he pushed Spacey off him and went on to leave the apartment.
Spacey said Sunday he is “beyond horrified” by the allegations.
The two-time Oscar winner posted on Twitter that he doesn’t remember the encounter. “But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” he said.
Rapp, who is now 46 and starring in the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery,” said he came forward after allegations against Harvey Weinstein sparked conversations about sexual abuse and harassment in the entertainment industry.
“This Kevin Spacey revelation is in direct response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal,” said Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matt Belloni. “The floodgates have opened.”
But it was Spacey’s further remarks that drew public outrage.
In his tweeted statement, Spacey said: “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life 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.”
The longstanding rumors about Spacey’s sexuality are something that even he himself joked about when he hosted the Tony Awards in June. But all over Twitter Monday, critics charged it was no laughing matter.
Actor Richard Lawson said in multiple tweets: “Coming out as a gay man is not the same thing as coming out as someone who preyed on a 14-year-old. Conflating those things is disgusting. This exposes the gay community to a million tired old criticisms and conspiracies. The distance we’ve had to walk to get away from the notion that we’re all pedophiles is significant. For a famous person to deflect these accusations with a long-in-the-making coming out is so cruel to his supposed new community it stings. How dare you implicate us all in this.”
“Kevin Spacey’s comment was wrong on so many levels,” comedian Larry Wilmore wrote on Twitter.
Actress Rose McGowan tweeted, “Gay=Gay Predator=Predator.”
Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out,” comedian Bill Eichner wrote.
Wanda Sykes wrote: “No no no no no! You do not get to “choose” to hide under the rainbow! Kick rocks!”
“People on social media are noting that coming out as gay is completely separate from addressing allegations of being a sexual predator,” Belloni said. “You could argue that coming out as gay in this particular moment might deflect attention away from the allegations against him.”
Rapp did not address Spacey’s apology, instead writing, “I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me. Everything I wanted to say about my experience is in that article, and I have no further comment about it at this time.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of the allegation and apology, Netflix announced that “House of Cards,” in which Spacey stars, would end after the upcoming sixth season.
The company said that the decision to end “House of Cards” came months ago and was not a response to the Rapp allegations.
But Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital did issue a joint statement on the matter reading: “Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey. In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure they feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time.”
Production for Season 6 of “House of Cards” began earlier this month, reports TVLine. Season 6 is to air in 2018.
“House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon, who stepped away from the series after Season 4, said in a statement that he found Rapp’s story “deeply troubling.” He tweeted, “During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on ‘House of Cards,’ I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off. That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)