I first saw Kevin Spacey in an old crime series called “Wiseguy.” It was about three decades ago, and he played a character who had biblical knowledge of his sister, who obligingly shot him full of heroin through his big toe. I was enchanted.
I followed his burgeoning career, through two Oscars and an Emmy-winning performance in Netflix series “House of Cards.” The man was our own Olivier, and I loved him. In fact, I considered myself the wife he didn’t know he actually had.
Which became a running joke with my friends, who apparently already sensed what I had deliberately ignored: Kevin was gay.
For decades, the man kept his private life exactly that: private. I’m sure there were rumors among the Hollywood types, and I’m sure some of those rumors had incredibly salacious details, but I was quite happy in my imaginary menage a who-are-you-kidding?
And then it all came tumbling down this week when Kevin bypassed me completely (you don’t call, you don’t write!) and admitted to the world that he was, in fact, “living as a gay man.”
The problem is that this revelation was the second clause of a two part sentence, and the first clause implied that he didn’t remember a drunken episode where he tried to assault a 14 year old three decades ago. Whether he meant to or not (and he probably meant to), Kevin pushed open the door to that dark closet in the hopes that the noise it made would drown out the accusations of sexual assault.
It didn’t work. Oh boy did it not work. Instead of garnering the support of those Hollywood types who love a good coming out story (including those who were actually forced by cattle prods out of the closet kicking and screaming against their will,) Kevin’s cohorts in La La land went ballistic. They were angry that he seemed to be mixing his La Cage “I Am What I Am” moment with an attempted deflection of past pedophilia (alleged, of course.)
As I tweeted after the revelation, it seemed as if Hollywood was angrier that Kevin had offended the LGBT community than that he had sort of, kind of admitted his attempted assault of a teenager back in 1986. I kept reading the tweets from the icons of liberal tolerance, trying to find some profound vein of anger at his sexual misconduct, and they were there. But there were also condemnations along the line of that exhibited by Dan Savage, a man who regularly condones pretty disgusting sexual behavior between “consenting adults.” The aptly-named Savage tweeted that “”There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child.”
He’s right, of course. Spacey’s obvious attempt to deflect attention from his alleged predation is the worst moral flea-flicker pass in history, seconded only by former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey.
But I cannot get the word “chutzpah” out of my head reading this sex columnist’s moral outrage against Spacey when in the past, some of the “advice” he’s handed out about threesomes, dildoes and other delightful accessories for debauchery is just this side of felonious in some third world countries.
The outrage at Spacey’s timing made me wonder how people would have reacted had the actor made this statement: “I honestly do not remember the encounter. It would have been 30 years ago …. 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. I choose now to live as a Catholic priest.”
Imagine that the Hollywood crew were faced with a future seminarian Spacey who had sort of acknowledged inappropriate relations with a young boy instead of a “finally here I am gay man” Spacey admitting the same sordid acts. Would they be angry that he had slandered Catholics in general, and Catholic priests in particular? I mean, how horrible to try and conflate priests with sexual misconduct? Right? Hello?
Yes, I am being facetious, as if I even had to mention it. Hollywood has spent decades attacking the church, as recently as a couple of years ago with that incredibly biased piece of fiction “Spotlight.” Conflating priests and predators is par for the course with the California crew. And these days, any heterosexual man who can breathe without a respirator is fair game.
But God forbid there should be any suggestion of sexual misconduct in any community protected by race, religion (not Catholicism, of course) sexual orientation or gender? If you do that, you will be shunned.
It’s a shame my ex-husband didn’t check out the Jesuits. It could have saved him a lot of grief.
Christine Flowers is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.