all the subtext in Kevin Spacey’s apology

Kevin Spacey would like you to know some things!

1. GARSH THIS IS NEWS TO ME THAT I AM HEARING FOR THE FIRST TIME EVAIR
2. I FORGET IF IT HAPPENED
3. IF IT HAPPENED IT WAS THREE DECADES AGO (when I was a grown man and he was a child but SHHHH)
4. IS “IF I DID IT” TAKEN AS A BOOK TITLE?
5. WOAH IF I DID IT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN DEEPLY INAPPROPRIATE!
6. DUDE I WAS WICKED DRUNK (if it happened which it probably didn’t)
7. SORRY ABOUT YOUR FEEEEELINGS ANTHONY (that are your feelings and have nought to do with me)
8. “ALL THESE YEARS” — you are clearly clinging to your sense of victimization, sorry ur so stuck
9. GOSSIP ABOUT MOI IS MOTIVATED BY MY UN-HOLLYWOOD LOVE OF PRIVACY
10. LOOK OVER HERE BRIGHT SHINY OBJECT I’M COMING OUT COMING OUT WHOOOO COMING OUT MAKE THAT YOUR LEDE NEWS FRENS
11. I AM A BRAVE COURAGEOUS HERO OF COURAGE, A PROUD GAY MAN OF PROUDNESS GO ME

We at SorryWatch should not have to say this but: Spacey’s statement (issued in response to this) is not an apology. It is a diversion, a distraction, a parry. It is dishonesty. Homosexuality is nothing to apologize for; it has nothing to do with pedophilia. As George Takei noted:

Takei is right, of course. Harassment and assault are abuses of power; the abuser’s sexual identity is not relevant. But it’s no accident that in this statement, Spacey doesn’t come out [sic] and say what he’s apologizing for. He’s implying that he’s being persecuted for not being out of the closet. This is offensive. Rapp was 14 (and look at him at 14! a WEE BABBY!) when, he says, Spacey picked him up, threw him on a bed, and climbed on top of him. And despite Spacey’s airy attempts at discrediting Rapp, Buzzfeed didn’t merely repeat Rapp’s allegations; the site talked to folks Rapp has been telling this story to since 1990. (And for whatever it’s worth, in 1992 or 1993, when I was a journalist at Sassy, a different underage theater actor told me he’d had a brief sexual relationship with Spacey, who was then in his mid-30s.)

The last line of Spacey’s statement is confusing. (Almost as confusing as serial harasser Leon Wieseltier’s “shaken apology” to his former employees — what is a shaken apology? is the apology shaken because the apologizer had had absolutely no idea until this very moment that he’d done anything wrong? because he’d been outed? because he’d, you know, HARASSED PEOPLE?) What behavior, exactly, is Spacey claiming he needs to examine? What, precisely, demands sudden openness and honesty? His drinking, maybe? I think? Honestly, the sentence is so Keyser-Söze-esque in its cageyness, it’s hard to say.

Regardless, it’s a vile non-apology. To quote Spacey’s character John Williamson in Glengarry Glen Ross: “FUCK you.”

This entry was posted in Artistic apologies, Bad Apologies, Celebrity Apologies, Social Media Apologies, Sorry If, Twitpologies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to all the subtext in Kevin Spacey’s apology

  1. Frako Loden says:

    Go you! You are master of the GIF.

  2. Cat says:

    one little thing in this (otherwise stellar) post: the “look at him when he was 14” bit is a little… unpleasant. it opens the door for people who make comments like “well he/she LOOKED much older”. age is the deciding factor here, the ONLY relevant factor. not his appearance.

  3. Duane Day says:

    Consider a hypothetical: Rapp’s description is 100% accurate, but Spacey honestly has no memory whatsoever of assaulting Rapp. Spacey is aware that he has a history of “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” including behavior of a nature that makes Rapp’s account entirely plausible to him. Spacey also knows that his previous unwillingness to “deal with [his sexual orientation] honestly and openly” has caused him to issue false public statements (e.g. after the 2004 incident in a London park). To continue to “protect his privacy” at this moment would require him to act as if Rapp’s accusation couldn’t be true. Thus, Rapp’s accusation being made public creates an absolute moral imperative for Spacey to drop his long-held public pretense that he isn’t gay.

    That’s the subtext I’m seeing in the totality of Spacey’s statement. I don’t see one iota of “it probably didn’t happen” anywhere in there. I also don’t see any apology for being gay, but I do see an implicit acknowledgement that trying to hide his sexuality has caused him to be dishonest in the past, and that continuing that effort at the present moment would be unthinkable. And in the linking of his coming out to his responding to this accusation, and in the absence of any denial that he’d ever done anything like what Rapp says he did, I see an implicit acknowledgement that it’s plausible to Spacey that the accusation is entirely true.

    I’m a fan of Sorrywatch, but I think you may have gotten this one wrong. I’m not saying Spacey’s apology is anywhere near perfect, but I think there’s a whole lot more genuine “mea culpa” in there than you perceived.

  4. Old Rockin' Dave says:

    What is a shaken apology?
    It’s obvious. Leon Wieseltier prefers his apologies shaken, not stirred.
    And taken with vodka, and a little vermouth.

  5. Pingback: Al and Louie | SorryWatch

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