Within the past week, British police have opened investigation into the sexual misconduct of Kevin Spacey. Once deemed one of the most respectable and composed of contemporary actors, the star of House of Cards, of The Usual Suspects, of American Beauty and of L.A Confidential, has plummeted, and in the same far-reaching repercussions of the Harvey Weinstein case has been severed from Hollywood.
It is interesting, I think, that these allegations have arisen in the first place, related as they are to the perverse idea that Hollywood is an all-powerful behemoth which cannot be contested. But what is more interesting is the way that Kevin Spacey dealt with it, and that is the reason why he has himself eclipsed Harvey Weinstein in the news. His excuse was that he was gay. Well, not explicitly so. But by bringing up his homosexuality even in the slightest response to the allegations, he has conflated the two topics to the point of no return, and has completely destroyed himself in doing so.
When Jodie Foster came out in 2013 she was met with cheers all-round, but she was met with applause because it was a long personal struggle as she was already in her 50s with kids; she didn’t sexually assault a 14 year old boy.
Along with a lot of people I asked myself why? Why would that be your go-to response? Of course it has been used to deflect from the abhorrent abuse he has inflicted on others, but why such a deflection? It would be hard to peer into the mind of Kevin Spacey, and in light of this recent news I don’t think I would like to, but I have a feeling that it is somehow linked to the reception of Actors coming out as gay in the past. For example, when Jodie Foster came out in 2013 she was met with cheers all-round, but she was met with applause because it was a long personal struggle as she was already in her 50s with kids; she didn’t sexually assault a 14 year old boy.
But as I mentioned earlier, this whole issue I feel has something to do with the essence of Hollywood itself. The same people accusing Spacey have also said that Hollywood is ‘not a safe environment’, that sexual abuse of young men is ‘rampant’ and ‘pervasive’ among the older, inveterate elite. The Weinstein allegations don’t seem to be plateauing, and with new allegations come old suggestions – of videos emerging from as early as the 90s of celebrities proving that the whole thing was already an open secret. This is what happens when the dreams of the young are held in the hands of men who are motivated solely by profit. With profit comes power, and with power comes greed and gratification, so when an industry so influential and powerful as Hollywood reveals itself to be led by people such as this we shouldn’t be surprised.
In exactly the same way as the BBC did with Jimmy Saville, Hollywood has protected Weinstein in order to prevent its own self-destruction. But now that these kingpins have been undone, I expect in the near future we will hear of many more cases; if it is Kevin Spacey now, who next?