Kevin Spacey is facing a Hollywood backlash after being accused of historical sex advances towards a 14-year-old boy.
Actors, writers and comedians have been voicing their anger over the actor’s response to allegations that he tried to sexually assault a teenager when he was 26.
In an interview published on Monday, actor Anthony Rapp told Buzfeed News that Spacey befriended him in 1986 while they were both performing on Broadway.
He claimed the Usual Suspects star invited him to his apartment for a party and at the end of the night picked him up, placed him on his bed and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance.
Rapp told Buzzfeed he believed Spacey was “trying to seduce me” and he was “aware that he was trying to get with me sexually”.
He said he managed to push Spacey off him before leaving.
In a statement tweeted shortly after, Spacey said he has “a lot of respect and admiration” for Rapp and is “beyond horrified to hear his story”.
“I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago,” said his Twitter statement.
“But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all those years.”
That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 30, 2017
He also used the occasion to “address other things about my life”, and admitted “now to live as a gay man”.
Across social media, celebrities have criticised Spacey for a “calculated move”.
“The classiest way to come out of the closet is as a PR smokescreen to distract people from the fact that you tried to molest a child,” wrote comedian Guy Branum.
Nope to Kevin Spacey’s statement. Nope. There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child.
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) October 30, 2017
“That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope,” wrote comedian and presenter Billy Eichner.
“But honestly I hesitate to make jokes because the Spacey statement is truly disgusting, irresponsible and dangerous,” he added.
Other, like author Mark Harris, comedian Cameron Esposito and Full Frontal writer Travon Free, made a point that being gay should not be linked to the alleged harassment of a 14-year-old.
“Being gay is not an excuse for trying to molest children,” Free wrote.
Harris said: “I keep rereading this statement and getting angrier. Coming out is a beautiful part of being gay. Attaching it to this vileness is so wrong.”
The classiest way to come out of the closet is as a PR smokescreen to distract people from the fact that you tried to molest a child.
— Guy Branum (@guybranum) October 30, 2017
The claims come after the allegations about Harvey Weinstein prompted many people to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.
Weinstein denies any accusations made against him.
Actress Rose McGowan, one of the first women to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, has tweeted her reaction to Spacey’s statement, writing: “Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it’s your turn to cry, that’s why we’ve gotta say goodbye.”
In Westminster, Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a binding code of conduct for MPs as claims of sexual impropriety also emerge.