Ethics Quiz: The Weinsteining Of Kevin Spacey

This latest boxcar on the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck contains an ethics quiz because I have such mixed feelings about it.

Yesterday, actor and former child performer Anthony Rapp told Buzzfeed that in 1986, when Kevin Spacey was 26,  Rapp was 14, and both were appearing in Broadway plays, Spacey invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party. At the end of the evening, Rapp says, Spacey picked Rapp up, put him on his bed, and climbed on top of him. Rapp says he managed to squirm away and locked himself in the bathroom. Eventually he left Spacey’s residence, and never had any further contact with him.

Rapp is now 46. He says that before talking to Buzzfeed, he never told anyone about the traumatic  experience. However, Spacey’s success in his career constantly reminded Rapp of the incident.  “My stomach churns,” Rapp said. “I still to this day can’t wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It’s just deeply confusing to me.”

Rapp said he felt obligated to finally tell his story in the wake of the new awareness of the sexual harassment and sexual abuse culture in  the entertainment industry, sparked by Harvey Weinstein’s fall.

“And not to simply air a grievance, but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent. … I’m feeling really awake to the moment that we’re living in, and I’m hopeful that this can make a difference.”

Spacey immediately tweeted an apology, and more:

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is Rapp’s public accusation fair, responsible, and ethical?

I can honestly say that I not only don’t have an answer right now, but that I don’t even feel close to one. I look forward to the comments. Some factors that concern, and in some cases confuse me are these:

  • I believe Rapp, or at least I believe that the episode was related as he remembers it now. However, old memories, even vivid ones, are notoriously unreliable.

Do I believe Spacey when he says he doesn’t remember the episode? I don’t know. The drunk excuse rings false. Maybe he was sexually assaulting so many teenaged boys at the time that this didn’t stand out as unusual.

  • As described, the incident isn’t sexual harassment. It’s child sexual abuse, a crime. This didn’t occur in the workplace, or as part of a professional relationship. If Rapp had been an adult when he had the encounter with Spacey, this wouldn’t be necessarily be an offense, just plausibly misread signals.

Why does Rapp say this is related to the Weinstein scandal?

  • I suppose he’s broadening the parameters.  This isn’t “Hollywood power sexually exploits powerless starlets who are intimidated and afraid to speak out,” but “future Hollywood star abuses the trust of weaker colleague who never speaks out.”  Spacey, at least based on the interview, didn’t threaten Rapp or pay him off. Rapp’s rationale is that the women Weinstein abused eventually accused him, so he is adopting their example and showing that silence encourages abuse.

Is that it?

  • Is there any evidence that Spacey was a serial abuser like Weinstein? If Rapp’s story isn’t going to stop Spacey from hurting others, what is it for? Therapy? Revenge? Justice?

This is a kick to the gut of Spacey’s reputation and career.

  • I say I believe Rapp, but that doesn’t mean that his story is provable, or that it couldn’t be a false accusation. If every decades-old accusation is going to be accepted by the public and the news media as fact, then there will be false accusers. This is where the witch hunt phenomenon takes over.

The power to destroy with a pointed finger and a terrible story is intoxicating and irresistible to some people.

  • I have already written this, and clearly, many people do not understand. I find public accusations after so many years inherently unfair to the accused. In this case, I see no reason why Rapp couldn’t confront Spacey with his story in private, so he could apologize, defend himself, or make amends. That is the Golden Rule course. Attacking Spacey in Buzzfeed is cowardly.

Rapp’s not a kid any more.

  • Rapp didn’t just accused Spacey of sexual assault, he outed him. Kevin Spacey has long denied being gay, which is his right. I doubt the he was fooling anyone in show business (he certainly didn’t convince me), but still, he has always insisted on maintaining the privacy of his life away from the camera and the stage.

Your turn!

73 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Quizzes, Workplace

73 responses to “Ethics Quiz: The Weinsteining Of Kevin Spacey

  1. SGS

    A number of things stand out to my mind:
    1. Does the statute of limitations apply in this case? If it does not, does Rapp intend to file charges?
    2. The way Buzzfeed reported it (Rapp’s stomach churned *as* Spacey’s career grew) makes it sounds like a bad, bad case of envy coupled with unresolved lust
    3. Why should one party be believed over another party?
    4. Why did Spacey so quickly issue a non-apology?
    5. Is the entertainment industry silly enough to blacklist people who ever have gossip targeted at them?

  2. Still Spartan

    This has everything to do with Weinstein. Weinstein has been accused of rape, not just sexual harassment. It will be interesting to see if more young kids step forward. If so, then Spacey is toast.

    Did you read Spacey’s apology? It should get a 0 on your scale. It uses drunkeness AND homosexuality as excuses! He is not only a closeted gay, but a bad one to boot. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with child abuse. Many pedophiles will abuse both genders in any event. Plus, everyone knows Spacey is gay.

    • It’s a hybrid. (You mean a 10, not a 0, since 1 is the best.) If he really doesn’t remember the episode, I’d cut him a little slack. But yes, it’s bad.

      • Chris

        Yes, I’d say if he’s being honest about not remembering the incident, then this is in fact a very good apology. But it all hinges on whether or not he’s being truthful.

        • By conceding that it could be accurate, he’s conceding a lot. If my estranged younger sister said I assaulted her at a party when she was 14, I would say, unequivocally: “Impossible. I wouldn’t do that drunk, sober, or after a lobotomy. Not in my DNA, value system, not my character, never, period.”

          • Still Spartan

            EXACTLY

          • carcarwhite

            I agree! I find his apology VERY honest. He admits a LOT. He says “if it’s true I owe him an apology THEN DOES IT! That said a lot to me.

            I know each word is carefully chosen in these matters and to me he clearly accepted it could be true which is TRUE! And if he is gay, and we know men are attracted to younger women and men (and the women if it was up to nature and how thing used to be did marry after puberty, even if 13) so drunk he could have followed a natural desire he’d never do sober. even if he had the thought, “I really like that guy.”

            so yeah i think he admits a LOT, and takes responsibility and then says this is the first step of looking at other issues. He sorta admitted a hell of a lot. imo.

        • Dwayne N. Zechman

          I thought this too. If he genuinely doesn’t remember, then there’s no point in trying to deny it either, because that would be dishonest in a different way. I wouldn’t apologize for something I didn’t think I had actually done, nor would I deny something that it’s possible I’d done unless I had positive recollection of the event in question.

          With that in mind, I think the part about “I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.” really lands on the razor’s edge between sounding like “I’m sorry if people were offended” versus “THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT of it is undeniable, and I am sorry for THAT. The rest . . . I can’t really say.”

          –Dwayne

    • The issue with Weinstein is still the casting couch and powerful men using their position to sexually exploit women. Spacey wasn’t a powerful figure, there was no employment context, he didn’t threaten or pay anyone off.

      “Everyone” may know Spacey is gay, but he has never said he was gay, and in fact said the opposite. Most of the public is amazingly unable to tell a gay performer from a straight performer; most don’t even think about it.

      So I don’t think it’s fair to say that publicly outing him doesn’t matter.

      • I know the two aren’t formally related to each other, but I don’t doubt Rabb felt empowered to make the accusation because of the open flood gate of accusations initiated by the Weinstein train-wreck.

    • Homosexuality isn’t an excuse in this context?

      How open and accepting was society towards homosexuals in the 80s? How easy was it for homosexual men to find and form relationships?

      The male sexual drive is an incredibly underestimated facet of male biology. If the context of Spacey’s community drove those urges into repression, I can see why he thinks it’s valid to include as an excuse — that his couldn’t contain himself once alcohol wore down his restraint.

      I can also see the flip side that he’s merely stating that because he thinks it provides a type of bullet proof armor for him (which it shouldn’t).

      I donno. He may very well be using a type of “I was just as much a victim of homophobic society as he may have been a victim of me” defense.

      • Chris

        I think I agree. It’s obviously not a valid excuse, but the lack of acceptance of homosexuality at the time, and Spacey’s own choice to keep this part of himself repressed, could add context.

  3. JP

    Is Spacey playing the gay card to get out of the situation? Seems like that would make it worse in this particular situation, but it seems possible. I would also note that being drunk might explain the situation (though not excuse it). I suspect if it’s true more will speak out against Spacey. That seems to be the common trend lately.

  4. Other Bill

    And then there’s the pederasty elephant in the gay entertainment industry room thing. I think this guy Rapp should have referenced the Corey Feldman accusations rather than l’affaire Weinstein.

  5. 1) I think Spacey played the Gay Card as a way to signal “this was a male attraction thing, not a child attraction thing”.

    If that’s the signal (statement) do you believe him?

    2) People are pointing to Spacey’s use of “drunken” and I even saw on twitter someone say “you can’t remember the incident but you remember being drunk”. Sure, that seems like inconsistency, but if you go to Anthony Rapp’s statement as source material, it’s an embedded feature of the story. Kevin doesn’t refute the story, but he uses the victim’s version of events. Rapp said Spacey was drunk, Spacey said he doesn’t recall the event but if accepted as truth, it would be deeply inappropriate drunken behavior. That’s acceptance and technically true in holding with the victim’s version of events.

    3) Spacey says there are other stories of him out there that have been fueled by his protection of his privacy. I think he’s saying this to signal “you can’t believe everything you hear because some of it is invention because the writer is frustrated by my privacy.”

    Is this just him managing the storm and protecting himself from people rehashing past stories?

    4) A couple of years ago Michael Bay and Bryan Singer were in the cross-hairs but they seem to have rebounded without a scratch. Nothing new on those fronts?

  6. Spacey’s statement (as far as the incident is comcerned) appears to be state-of-the-art for the “believe the accuser” line of thought, isn’t it? Doesn’t recall it, but doesn’t reject it. Doesn’t apologize for anything, except contingently if he did do something. Expresses sorrow for the accuser’s feelings without taking any responsibility for them.

  7. A.M. Golden

    I’ve read Rapp’s detailed accusation in which he describes Spacey as having been drunk, so it’s not necessarily Spacey remembering he was drunk when he couldn’t remember anything else, it’s him addressing Rapp’s description of the incident.

    My Observations.

    1. I find it hard to believe that a drunk person would come on to a 14-year old boy when he wouldn’t have done so sober. Is this like Whoopi Goldberg’s description of Mel Gibson’s spewing anti-Semitic slurs as just “drunk talk”?
    2. Show of hands of anyone here who would allow their adolescent son to attend an adult party unsupervised. Where were Anthony’s parents when their son was invited to the house of a grown man for a party at which he spent most of the time in the bedroom watching television before being drunkenly pawed after everyone else had left? This is just another case of parents of a child actor being like “rabbits on a highway at night” like Paul Petersen relates, “Bright lights blind them.”
    3. Spacey’s tweet has also upset the gay community because it’s spent years trying to dissuade people from the idea that homosexuals are pedophiles. When a male actor, even a drunk one, behaves inappropriately with a teenage boy and decides to conflate his handling of the incident years later by coming out at the same time, it fuels the concerns of those who oppose gays having contact with children, such as gay scoutmasters, teachers or those wishing to adopt.
    4. I agree that the Weinstein connection is relevant. It may not be the exact same situation, but it is indicative of the problem Hollywood has with the concept of abuse of power. Whether it’s a high-powered executive using his position to hire actresses based on their performance on the casting couch or an adult actor grooming an underage one, Hollywood has a huge problem that its long-time head-in-the-sand attitude is no longer going to be able to hide.

    In my opinion, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Like a stack of dominos…or, if you will, a house of cards…a number of powerful and some not-so-powerful people are going to be brought down before it’s over.

    • Other Bill

      AMG, these Hollywood people may be a little down but I would never count them out. It’s all about box office. And they all know it.

    • Beckie

      Tip of the iceberg indeed. Though he only has Rapp as an accuser thus far, no so for this one http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-blaise-godbe-lipman-assault207102019-story.html

      Nice House of Cards reference, but it seems in light of this – whether true or not, – Netflix has decided that house will crumble after this upcoming season as they are “deeply troubled” by the accusation. I have to wonder if it’s Netflix covering their own rears, taking the road that this type of thing they won’t deal with (did they pull all the movies Weinstein had any part of?) or is everyone just now guilty until they’re proven innocent? I am not saying he is innocent, and I think given how he carries himself he will not make a fuss about his show coming to an end and just step away quietly. Or as quietly as the press will let him at least.

      Would this fall in line more under what Corey Feldman has been trying to say for years about people in the industry targeting children than it would they Weinstein train? Back in 2013 in an interview with Barbara Walters she told him “you’re damaging an entire industry” when he was trying to talk about it.

  8. Jeff

    In addition to all the ethical issues Jack raises, I’m also left wondering what kind of parents let a 14-year-old attend a party at a 26-year-old man’s house.

  9. This would be a great post for Mrs Q to weigh in on. She’s been absent for a while….

  10. I’m kind of ambivalent as well. It might be true, but it also might be opportunistic witch hunt. Additional accusers may not clinch it, how many accusers were there in Salem again? There was uneven power involved, but lack of threats or bribes imply there there was a possibility of honest confusion. Where were parents or guardian? If it was a getting drunk party, that had no benefit for any 14-year old.

    I’m not good at spotting gays, but I don’t really care. I do think it rude to out others this many years later. I’m not sure what good this is doing or why bother if he’s had thirty years for counseling. It’s too late for legal and feels more like spite. If this were a common event, it would have been leaking like for Weinstein, so why bring it up now?

    I am getting more concerned about these trials and hunts twenty and thirty years later. How many people who did not live in a box haven’t some skeleton in an otherwise decent life. And what if my driving with a faint buzz became a lifer charge twenty years later? How can you give a proper apology if you honestly do not remember? Is it fair to assume lying? Was he known for having booze and alcohol issues at the time? Even for social media, there should be a statute of limitations. Social media ring leaders have way too much power and cannot be refuted or disproven. Who is the governer’s wife to force a reality check?

    • I agree with your concerns here. We have a 13 year old son and there is absolutely no way we allow him to attend a party at someone’s house without us being there. I can’t imagine allowing him to attend a swim team party at the coach’s house without adult supervision.

      Furthermore, I am suspect of the online shaming taking place. I don’t know if Spacey is gay or straight or bisexual or pansexual or what (and frankly, I don’t care) but if the accuser did not approach him with this before, then I wonder why he is doing it now. Is it in relation to Weinstein? Or is it for publicity? Did he go to Spacey to get an acknowledgment that what happened did, in fact, happen? If so, did Spacey ignore it or take responsibility?

      It appears that Spacey’s response is along the line of, “Well, you know, it may have happened as the accuser said it happened but I wouldn’t know – I remember I hosted a party but Jack Daniels and I were really good friends back then, and I was probably beyond any ability to comprehend my actions. For all I know, I thought the accuser was my chocolate lab who likes to cuddle on my bed at night. If he said it happened that way, I don’t really have any way to remember one way or another, so I am sorry I may have caused whatever pain you suffered. But, hey, I am now a gay guy so all’s good. PS: Netflix, don’t cancel my shows. I still need the cash.”

      jvb

  11. La Sylphide

    My first sexual assault occurred when I was four years old. I told my parents. They blew it off. I was four, you see. What were my responsibilities as a four year old? What are my responsibilities as an adult? If he were to have become famous and a well known figure, do I still have a responsibility to out him? What if he were running for office? Or applying to drive a school bus? What are my obligations? And in what venue do I bring the incident from 50 years ago to light?

    Those of us who have been sexually assaulted, more than once, are still sailing in unchartered waters.

  12. Jack’s question, “Is Rapp’s public accusation fair, responsible, and ethical?”

    Based on this statement from Rapp, “And not to simply air a grievance, but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent. … I’m feeling really awake to the moment that we’re living in, and I’m hopeful that this can make a difference.”

    I declare that Rapp specifically naming Spacey as the person who did this to him was, unfair, not responsible, and unethical. If it was true that he just wanted to “shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue…” there would be no reason to actually mention Spacey’s name.

    This is a he said, he said situation where no one actually wins a damn thing, but in today’s social justice warrior environment there IS a loser, Spacey; either Rapp knew this up front or he is a complete imbecile. Regardless of whether this is true or false, this was a intentionally targeted public smear, it’s defamation, where neither person will be able to prove a damn thing but the accused, Spacey, still loses. I smell a defamation lawsuit.

    • P.S. Spacey’s apology is actually not an apology at all, I’m not sure what to call it. He should have kept his mouth shut before talking to his attorney.

      • I think it’s an admission of plausibility. He never apologizes or says sorry, but acknowledges that an apology is owed. Perhaps the apology will never be public, but rather private?

        • Tim LeVier wrote, “I think it’s an admission of plausibility.”

          I think that’s a bit of a stretch. If you honestly do not remember something that someone claims happened that is not an “admission of plausibility”; if is an admission of nothing.

          Tim LeVier wrote, “…but acknowledges that an apology is owed.”

          I disagree; he said that an apology is owed if it actually happened.

          • Tim LeVier

            1) To say “if” is an admission that it’s not outside the realm of “possible”. If it’s possible and doesn’t garner immediate rejection, then I’d say it’s “plausible”. By issuing the statement that he did, he’s not said he’s sorry, but he also isn’t saying the accuser is wrong. “If” is what you say when what someone says is plausible, and that’s exactly what he said. The statement leaves any reasonable reader with the idea that the accuser may not be wrong.

            2) Sure, we can argue semantics about “if” and that the whole thing hinges on the version of events laid out by the accuser as being real. When you don’t know what happened because you were drunk and it was 30 years ago, and you think it is “plausible”, you say things like “if”. In this scenario, he isn’t using “if” to mitigate his losses or diminish the apology to the accuser, because this isn’t an apology.

            What it is, is the beginning of the conversation, one that I hope Mr. Spacey continues with Mr. Rapp in private to explore the truth of the matter and upon agreement of what happened, acceptance for behavior and an apology properly delivered, in person and in private.

            If this is the end of Mr. Spacey’s engagement, then I will be disappointed in finding out a terrible truth of his past and not facing it to conclusion.

            • Tim,
              I’m done arguing the “if” part, I don;t think we will change each others opinions on that, and that’s ok.

              Just to clarify something else; you are strongly implying that this should be a private matter between the two of them but yet you said this, “If this is the end of Mr. Spacey’s engagement, then I will be disappointed in finding out a terrible truth of his past and not facing it to conclusion.” If it’s private from this point on how will you know if this is or is not “the end of Mr. Spacey’s engagement”?

              • It should be a private matter between the two of them and there are other ways to know that Mr. Spacey continued to address the matter without being a fly on the wall.

                • For example, a hypothetical: The year is 2037 and Kevin Spacey has just passed. Anthony Rapp is promoting something or other on a late night show and the host brings up the subject asking if Kevin ever reached out to him privately after the public letters. Rapp simply answers “Yes.” or “No.” That could be the day that my feelings on the matter will know disappointment or not. I don’t need to know today or ever, but if by chance in some far flung future I hear that it never went further, yes, disappointment will be a part of the emotions I feel.

                  • I present Tim’s comment above as “evidence” that Spacey’s reputation has been permanently damaged by this accusation.

                    Seriously Tim, what if this incident didn’t actually happen the way Rapp claimed it did? There has been absolutely no proof presented to support the claim, nothing, it’s just a he said, he said (or he didn’t say).

            • Tim wrote, “I will be disappointed in finding out a terrible truth of his past and not facing it to conclusion.”

              This really sounds to me like you believe Rapp’s claim and have already condemned Spacey.

              • The way Mr. Spacey organized and stated his response suggests that everyone should not discount Mr. Rapp’s claim. He in no way requested the benefit of the doubt.

                • Tim LeVier wrote, “The way Mr. Spacey organized and stated his response suggests that everyone should not discount Mr. Rapp’s claim.”

                  I haven’t discounted the accusations. I also haven’t condemned based on the accusations, I’m not too sure you and others can say the same.

                  Tim LeVier wrote, “He in no way requested the benefit of the doubt.”

                  Therefore logic deems that the accusations are true???

                  • 1) I haven’t condemned Spacey in any fashion, that I’m sure, even if you are not.

                    2) You’re probably right about others. But who those others are and what they have to do with this conversation, I haven’t the fanciest.

                    3) No. That’s not how logic works.

                    • Tim LeVier wrote, “I haven’t condemned Spacey in any fashion, that I’m sure, even if you are not.”

                      If I misinterpreted your statement “I will be disappointed in finding out a terrible truth of his past and not facing it to conclusion” as being a condemnation of Spacey, I apologize.

                      Tim LeVier wrote, “No. That’s not how logic works.”

                      Yup I knew that, thus the “???” questioning if you knew that. It’s all good.

                  • You don’t need to apologize, you even said you weren’t sure I had condemned him. I was just clarifying that I hadn’t and to that end, you’ve focused on a statement where there’s an obvious glitch in my typing/writing/train of thought.

                    “I will be disappointed, in him finding out a terrible truth of his past and not facing it to conclusion”

                    That may not help you much, but it’s complicated by your refusal to recognize the statement as “accepting plausibility”. As Jack said elsewhere, “it’s damn near confirming”.

                • Tim,
                  The fact is that we do not know if the accusations and the implications surrounding the accusations are true or false; I think some people have lost sight of this fact.

              • Beckie

                It did condemn him in the eyes of Netflix, they’ve canceled House of Cards, so the damage has been done by the accusation.

                • Beckie,
                  The new world of social justice warriors demands that we all immediately jump to conclusions and the accused are guilty until proven innocent. If we don’t jump to the same conclusions as the social justice warriors then we are smeared as condoning the actions that are being accused which means that if we don’t immediately condemn Spacey as being guilty then we are condoning sexual assault. Furthermore, even if accusations are proven innocent, the guilty “verdict” in the court of public opinion cannot be reversed or pardoned, the accused is plastered with a “permanent” Scarlet Letter just because they were accused.

                  This is the new world of social justice warriors we live in.

    • Chris

      Regardless of whether this is true or false, this was a intentionally targeted public smear, it’s defamation

      By definition, it is only defamation if it is false.

      • Chris wrote, “By definition, it is only defamation if it is false.”

        1. Rapp is the one that made the accusation it’s up to him to prove it, not up to Spacey to prove it false. Can he prove it’s true? Yes/No

        2. If it cannot be proven as being true then tell me what it is if it’s not an unprovable statement that is being presented to the public as fact; isn’t that what slander is i.e. defamation?

        Face facts Chris, Rapp’s purpose was to publicly smear Spacey. Maybe Rapp also did it to portray himself as a “victim” and therefore somehow promote his career with the growing social justice warrior class.

        • Chris

          You don’t know how defamation works. Yes, to prove that defamation occurred, you absolutely do have to prove that the allegation is false. That is why defamation is very hard to prove in court, and why most defamation lawsuits don’t work out for the plaintiff.

          • You don’t have to prove the defamatory statement false. You can also show that it was an malicious assertion of fact based on undisclosed and undisclosable claims. Since I’m dealing with a stupid defamation suit right now, I have some immediate experience in this matter.

            But Spacey’s not going to sue. You are right that this would be a difficult suit to win. And dangerous to try. See: Oscar Wilde.

            Yes, truth is a complete defense. But the inverse isn’t true: the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove that the statement is false. If I say X is a serial rapist without evidence, implying that I have supporting facts, that’s defamation.

            • Jack,
              Thanks for the clarifications on this, I was mulling over how to explain what I was thinking after I read Chris’ comment last night; you covered it nicely.

              Chris, like so many others, have shifted their thinking and now it seems that they are leaning heavily towards that it’s the accused that has to prove their innocence which is counter to our belief of the presumption that we are innocent until proven guilty. This is something that I think social justice warriors do not understand.

              This same shifting of thinking is evident in comments from some that believe that others have to prove them wrong instead of them supporting their claims.

              • Chris

                Chris, like so many others, have shifted their thinking and now it seems that they are leaning heavily towards that it’s the accused that has to prove their innocence which is counter to our belief of the presumption that we are innocent until proven guilty

                That’s literally the opposite of my argument. I was talking about an accusation of defamation. In that case, like all cases, it is up to the accuser to prove the defendant guilty.

                Jack is right that I overstepped when I said a plaintiff must prove an accusation false in order to win a defamation suit. His example is helpful though:

                If I say X is a serial rapist without evidence, implying that I have supporting facts, that’s defamation.

                Yes, if one has no way of knowing the truth of a claim before they make it, then that can be defamation. But Rapp obviously does have a way of knowing whether Spacey assaulted him. In this case, wouldn’t Spacey have to demonstrate that Rapp is lying in order to win a defamation case against him?

                • Chris wrote, “That’s literally the opposite of my argument.”

                  Can someone, anyone, please explain to me how what I wrote is the opposite of Chris’ argument.

                  Chris’ core premise is that the plaintiff in the defamation case has to prove that the accusation leveled against him is false, therefore forcing the person to defend them self against a slanderer by proving an original defamation accusation false and the slanderer doesn’t have to prove that what they said is true. Isn’t what Chris wrote the literal equivalent to a defendant being guilty until they prove them self innocent?

                  Seriously, if I need to be educated on this someone please explain it to me.

                  • Chris

                    Chris’ core premise is that the plaintiff in the defamation case has to prove that the accusation leveled against him is false, therefore forcing the person to defend them self against a slanderer by proving an original defamation accusation false and the slanderer doesn’t have to prove that what they said is true. Isn’t what Chris wrote the literal equivalent to a defendant being guilty until they prove them self innocent?

                    No. In a defamation case, the defendant is the person who made the accusation. You are saying that the burden of proof is one the defendant to prove their accusation true, and that if they do not, they should be found guilty of defamation. The root of your confusion is that you are conflating a defamation case with a case against the person you are claiming has been defamed.

                    • Chris wrote, “if they do not, they should be found guilty of defamation.”

                      Actually Chris, I did not say or imply that. I’m only talking about the burden of proof not the result of a defamation case. Heck, I’m not even sure that a successful defamation case against slander requires the slanderous statements to be false, I think it more about perceived intent but it’s probably easier to have a successful defamation case against a person that fabricated outright lies.

                      Chris wrote, “…you are conflating a defamation case with a case against the person you are claiming has been defamed.”

                      Nope, I don’t think I’m doing that at all. Again, I’m talking about the burden of proof as it relates to the original slander that forced the defamation case.

                      Chris, there is something about your opinion surrounding this burden of proof topic that just seems out of whack and I can’t wrap my migraine brain around it right now. If anyone else has some input to help out, please share it.

                    • Chris

                      Again, I’m talking about the burden of proof as it relates to the original slander that forced the defamation case.

                      The burden of proof is always on the accuser. In a defamation case, the burden is on the accuser. In a sexual assault case, the burden is on the accuser.

                      I think I’ve been consistent about this.

                    • Chris,
                      I can’t articulate this any other way other than to say that the way you are presenting your opinion on this would enable liars to fabricate outright lies that no one could prove right or wrong and the victim of such lies wouldn’t have any real legal recourse to stop the slanderer because as soon as the victim sues the slanderer for defamation the slanderer becomes the Defendant and 100% of the burden of proof then becomes the Plaintiff and yet there is no way for the victim of the slander to disprove the lies. The defendant can just sit in court smugly and say, prove me wrong therefore victimizing the victim in court. I’m not a lawyer but there seems to be something seriously wrong with this.

                      To all you knowledgeable lawyers out there:
                      Aren’t defamation cases civil cases? Are things in civil court, as far as the burden of proof, done a bit differently than in criminal court?

  13. JutGory

    Regarding accusations that come out years later, where would you stand on Corey Feldman? He has said for years that bad things are happening, but has suggested, if not outright said, he fears reprisals.

    If he speaks up now, I would say it’s fair. It is certainly not out of the blue.
    -Jut

  14. carcarwhite

    I think it was unethical for him to do what he did. If it has bothered him, I think first he should have tried to contact Kevin privately.

    Kevin could have spoken to him and offered him an apology and acted as kind as i think he did in his public statement. I have seen people do things drunk who never remember it. I never have done that myself but I truly have seen drunk people do really really really stupid and things they’d NEVER do sober. Like grown men trying to kiss teen girls. (that did happen to me a few times)

    But anyway. all this time passes and so this guy feels like he needs to come out, but why? If it’s so others do… then ok BUT… what if he did go to Kevin and Kevin apologized and said “how can I make it up to you?” so what if this guy says “would you start a non profit to help awareness for this or would you donate some money to this charity or can we think of a way together?”

    I guess what i am saying is, IF Kevin was truly remorseful, which i would be if it were me, i’d want to have a chance to make it right one on one. I’d want to learn from this guy how it affected him. And if he saw i was sincere maybe he’d feel so much better and we could connect and even go “public together” as Kevin does say this has made him want to look at his life… ya know?

    OK i know i’m idealistic but I think it’s wrong to not have gone to him especially since he could.

    AND I’m glad he did. because it could not have been easy. and he probably did the best he knew. It’s really scary to face someone who you think abused you.

    maybe it’s good because it gets more discussion going, but you asked if it was ethical. I say no for the above reasons.

  15. Will

    Spacey neither confirmed not denied this allegation. It’s one man’s word against another’s after 30 years. Rapp should not have gone public like this in my opinion. A witch hunt has now ensued.

    • But not denying it is awfully close to confirming it. “I don’t remember if I molested and assaulted a teenaged boy…maybe I did, and if so, I’m sorry” is an admission that you MIGHT have, and since an alleges victim says he did, that’s enough for most people. If he accused me, I could say, unequivocally, “It never happened.”

      • Will

        It’s an admission that 30 years ago, on a night he can’t recall, when he was told by his accuser that he was quite drunk, he may have picked up a 14 year old boy and put him on a bed and lay on top of him. The 14 year old’s opinion was that he wanted sex but that is just his opinion. All he’s admitted is that is is possible he was drunkenly inappropriate with a 14 year old in a way that the 14-year has now decided to say he felt was sexual. That doesn’t mean it was or that Spacey would ever have wanted to have sex with a 14 year old.

        • I guarantee you that a grown man lying on top of a 14 year old without his consent is sexual assault per se, anywhere in the country. It was a crime.

          • Will

            Yes, but with the whole thing being 30 years old and not recalled by Spacey, he is not able to defend himself. There are many possibilities where it may not have been intentional. Maybe he picked the boy up drunkenly and lost balance and fell on him unintentionally. Rapp after 30 years is not reliable.

          • Will

            It is only sexual assault if it was sexual in nature and intentional. I find it disturbing that so many people seem to refuse to even entertain the idea that Rapp misinterpreted everything…it shows a lack of imagination or a desire that Spacey should be guilty.

            • That’s different. I accept that there was may have been a misunderstanding,that Spacey thought he had the teen’s consent, that he thought the kid was older than he was, etc. As decribed by the victim, however, it’s sexual assault, and he obviously thought it was.

              • Will

                That’s not it at all because you still assume Spacey was intending to “seduce” the boy. Why are you assuming that, given nothing in Spacey’s actions, as reported by Rapp, confirm that? He could, as I have said, simply overbalanced during a bit of drunken exuberance.

                • I have no idea what his intentions were, but if a man threw me on a bed and got on top of me, that’s what I would assume, and it’s pretty close to res ipsa loquitur.

                  • Will

                    Yes, but we have no idea if Spacey “threw” Rapp on the bed…you assume that. I really don’t understand why you seem to ignore the possibility that what happened was other than how Rapp says happened.

  16. Will

    If Spacey is guilty of no more than being drunkenly exuberant and picking up a kid and overbalancing, resulting in him falling over on top of the kid on the bed, the Rapp’s accusation is defamatory and highly unethical. There is nothing in Rapp’s statement to indicate any sexual intent by Spacey, except that Rapp interpreted it as such, extricate himself, and his in the bathroom. He claims Spacey said “are you sure you want to leave?” after he had calmed the sitiation sufficiently for Rapp to feel safe to come out of the bathroom, and that’s exactly what an innocent man would say.

    On the other hand, if Spacey did indeed have sexual intent then Rapp’s statement is still deeply unethical as he has left it 30 years to come forward and so rendered his evidence as nothing more than 30 year old gossip. He has also encouraged others seeking publicity to conflate or invent encounters with Spacey so that Spacey could never be convicted.

    The homophobic attacks by the “gay community” against Spacey appear nothing more than spite because Spacey has consistently refused to follow the “out and proud” path that this “community” says is the best way. As a gay man myself, I know too well that gay men number highly among the most bitter and spiteful of homophobes. It seems that Rapp could just have bought into this spite. While his choice of time to “spill the beans” coincides with the Weinstein allegations, it also coincides with Rapp’s own prominent TV role. It is deeply unethical and harmful to the cause of reducing sexual assault to make such weak accusations as he has made.

  17. Matthew B

    The accusation puts his portrayal as Lester in America Beauty in a different light. If true, that acting part wasn’t in liking an under age character, but that the gender was wrong.

    I actually didn’t didn’t recognize him from the photo. I did a IMDB lookup and that’s the only TV show or movie of his that I have watched.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s