Kevin Spacey is facing a lot of backlash from the LGBTQ community for coming out on Sunday.
The "House of Cards" star addressed his sexual orientation for the first time following "Star Trek: Discovery" star Anthony Rapp's allegations that in 1986, Spacey made a sexual advance toward him when he was 14 years old.
Spacey was quick to respond to these allegations late Sunday night. In a statement on Twitter, the 58-year-old "House of Cards" star apologized "for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour," and took the opportunity to come out.
"This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life," his statement read. "As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man."
Unfortunately, Spacey's timing to come out could not have been worse and the queer community is now criticizing the Hollywood star for reinforcing harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQ community.
This exposes the gay community to a million tired old criticisms and conspiracies.— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) October 30, 2017
Conflating paedophilia with being LGBTQI is horrendous, wrong and a disgusting and damaging lie... https://t.co/9L8WBFaGfX— Augustus Prew (@AugustusPrew) October 31, 2017
Gay men as predators is one of the most damaging stereotypes and too many people have fought against for Kevin Spacey to do this bullshit.— SClub8 (@BassedInShow) October 30, 2017
As many Twitter users noted, gay men have long been associated with pedophilia, despite the fact that there is no evidence to back this. And, according to certified sex and relationship therapist Joe Kort, "[Pedophiles] usually don't identify as homosexual; the majority identify as heterosexual, even those who abuse children of the same gender."
While the LGBTQ community has come a long way to dispel this stereotype, many argue that Spacey's coming out at the same time as his sexual misconduct allegations will likely set the community back.
"It is tragic that it has taken allegations of sexual harassment for Kevin Spacey to finally come out as gay, after not disclosing his sexuality for decades," Peter Tatchell, a British human rights campaigner, told The Guardian. "It is even worse that he mixes up his sexuality with inappropriate behaviour. His gayness is irrelevant. It's his actions that have prompted concern."
"Star Trek: Beyond" actor Zachary Quinto, who is an advocate and member of the LGBTQ community, echoed Tatchell's sentiments in a statement on Twitter.
"It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how Kevin Spacey has chosen to come out," he wrote. "Not by standing up as a point of pride – in the light of all his many awards and accomplishments – thus inspiring tens of thousands of struggling LGBTQ kids around the world, but as a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusation that he attempted to molest one."
Quinto is just one of many Hollywood stars to condemn Spacey's actions alongside the LGBTQ community. Many also blasted the actor for redirecting focus from his sexual misconduct allegations.
Being gay should never be equated with sexual assault or pedophilia. Thanks for giving the homophobes more ammo #KevinSpacey. 🙄— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) October 30, 2017
Kevin Spacey is trying to use coming out as a gay man to distract us from focusing on his predatory behavior toward a 14 year old boy.— Touré (@Toure) October 30, 2017
Just wanna be really fucking clear that being gay has nothing to do w/ going after underage folks— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) October 30, 2017
This is not about you being gay, Mr Spacey, it's about you being an alleged paedophile. https://t.co/L92PwDsAB0— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 30, 2017
Michelangelo Signorile, HuffPost's Queer Voices Editor-at-Large, noted that this is not the first time Spacey has harmed the LGBTQ community. In a 2010 interview with the Daily Beast, the actor attacked openly gay writer Kevin Sessums for asking him about his sexual orientation. As a result, Signorile argues that Spacey's longtime refusal to acknowledge his sexuality has sent the message that it's shameful to be gay.