In a new interview with BuzzFeed News, actor Anthony Rapp discusses his decision to come forward about Kevin Spacey sexually assaulting him when he was 14-years-old. Rapp’s confession came at an interesting time, where female actresses were just beginning to reveal the abuse they had endured under the hashtag #MeToo. After the full details of Hollywood head honcho Harvey Weinstein’s indiscretions were revealed to the public, Rapp made the tough and courageous decision to reveal that revered actor Kevin Spacey came on to him when Rapp was only a kid.
Rapp’s revelation resulted in many other men coming forward with similar stories of being victimized by Spacey. Rapp said he experienced immense guilt on potentially destroying Spacey’s show, House of Cards. Fortunately, the show managed to write Spacey out of the story, and generally everyone else got to keep their jobs.
Rapp is aware he is in the minority, as many of the people who have come forward as victims of sexual assault or harassment due to the #MeToo movement are women. Because of this, #MeToo is usually regarded as a “women’s movement.”
“I don’t want to insert myself into that conversation without being asked,” Rapp explained. “So much of that is fueled by the endemic power dynamics that have negatively affected women for so long. I’m not saying there aren’t any power dynamics that negatively affect men as well, but it touches on things that I think would more naturally drive women to come together to try to help shore themselves up against the weight of history.”
Rapp also elaborated on the sexism that is still prevalent within society, and that while what he went through was horrible, he doesn’t think it matches a woman’s experience with sexual assault in the same way.
“People talk about [how] women aren’t believed, but men are. Then there are people who say, ‘Well, Terry Crews and Anthony Rapp also got a lot of backlash.’ And I did get some backlash,” Rapp said. “But overwhelmingly, I did get a tremendous amount of support. Some men, it seems like, it doesn’t really quite land in the same way.”
While Rapp wants it known that men can be victims of sexual assault too, he also wants it known that women experience it on a much higher scale and, sometimes, are perceived to be liars. He particularly felt that the recent Brett Kavanaugh trial was upsetting, and said that Kavanaugh being voted into the Supreme Court confirmed the worst fears of victims around the country.
“I think about how in all the great changes in our country and in the world, the government is almost always the last to say yes to something after there’s been a movement that’s made itself known,” he said. “[But] to see this terrible, ‘We hear you, we believe you, and then we don’t care’ kind of response — that’s almost worse, you know? That was the fear that we all had, those of us who came forward and had an impact, that it would just go into the ether and make no difference. Nothing would change.”