Multiple sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations in Hollywood have been brought to our attention recently, many of them being against Kevin Spacey. The first to come forward was Anthony Rapp, and Spacey did not deny, but publicly apologized for his drunken behavior and his actions that he did not remember. As the main actor in the Netflix original series, House of Cards, it’s been a topic of conversation as to whether or not Spacey should be allowed to return to the show or to acting ever. Kevin Spacey should not appear in House of Cards, and his acting career should be over, because of the allegations against him. Although he has not been tried in a court of law, he apologized for, rather than denying, the initial account by Anthony Rapp, and following, several have come forward to address their own personal accounts of sexual harassment by Spacey.
Hollywood has been known for keeping their sexual assault allegations swept under the rug or not taken seriously, when really, they should be taken extremely seriously. Whether or not Kevin Spacey shouldn’t even be a question to those who could hire him because no one in their right mind would want to be the person who hired someone who had claims of sexual assault against them by over a dozen people. It would be in bad taste and makes those who made the claims feel like they aren’t being listened to. This doesn’t mean that Netflix shouldn’t continue filming the show. As long as Kevin Spacey is fired and the cast/crew are clear in not supporting Spacey’s actions, then they shouldn’t be punished for what he did.
When does the line get drawn? If accusations aren’t tried in court, it’s not exactly fair to immediately shun an actor from Hollywood. Everyone should be allowed a fair trial and the chance to defend themselves for accusations that may not be true. However, in a tweet posted by Spacey, he apologized and said he did not recall this happening when he was intoxicated. We think when you put yourself in the public eye and have a reputation to uphold, it is more difficult to get that second chance for such an allegation. If a person is completely positive the allegation against them is false, they will do everything in their power to try to convince the public otherwise. He also took this as an opportunity to announce he was a gay man, which shouldn’t have been posted in the same announcement because it aimed to defer the attention away from his apology.
Should actors be given a second chance for their mistakes? Well, that depends on the situations. Those who were convicted of sexual assault and harassment should not be given a second chance in Hollywood. The trauma they cause their victims should not be given a second chance. Imagine having the courage to speak up about a horrible circumstance such as sexual assault only to see the actor continuing to act afterwards. Some actors go through their own personal struggles in Hollywood, however, and should be given a second chance if they fix their issues. For example, if an actor or actress falls into the path of alcoholism or drugs, which affects their mood and behavior, and ends up going through rehabilitation and proving themselves to be better, they deserve a fair chance again if their actions did not hurt or affect others.
Ultimately, people need to know that their safety is put first and that they are respected. Because of Kevin Spacey’s allegations against him, he should not be allowed to continue on House of Cards, or any acting job for that matter. This goes for all actors and actresses in Hollywood. Bringing to light the need for people to come forward about these issues is a step in the right direction. Keeping the conversation going will not only convince the people of Hollywood to wake up and change the way things are running, but also will provide a safe space for those to speak up about their own personal situations as well.
This editorial was written by Abigail Chmelka based on the stance of a Media Milwaukee editorial board.