The Atlantic

The Kevin Spacey Allegations, Through the Lens of Power

The sexual-assault accusations against the actor are part of a broader social reckoning with the dynamics of abuse.
Source: Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The accusations against Kevin Spacey this past week have, among other things, presented a challenge of categorization. After the actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance at him in 1986, when Rapp was 14, more men came forward to allege predatory behavior by the actor. There have been two other accounts of encounters with teenage boys in the ’80s. Eight House of Cards staffers told CNN they saw the star grope and harass crew members.

Spacey has so far given a hedged apology to Rapp, denied one other allegation, and is reportedly now seeking “evaluation and treatment.” If the stories are true, do they simply add to the tally of Hollywood letches revealed since Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and rape? Does this scandal require a discussion of homosexuality because Spacey came out as gay in his apology to Rapp? Or is the issue adults preying on minors?

One of Spacey’s accusers, an unnamed 48-year-old artist, has his answer. “He is a pedophile,” the man told Vulture’s E. Alex Jung in a wide-ranging and disturbing interview published Thursday. The man says that when he was 14, he had an ongoing sexual relationship with the then-24-year-old rising actor. At first, the accuser was a consenting participant (or, as much as a minor can considered to be one), but he says the relationship ended when Spacey attempted to rape him. “Mr. Spacey absolutely denies the allegations,” a lawyer for the House of Cardsactor told .

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