Since the fallout from Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein, there have been numerous allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding male celebrities and politicians in our culture. The recent news regarding the sexual assault allegations against respected actor Kevin Spacey is disturbing on many levels. First, the allegation of sexual assault of a minor is shocking enough on its own. Next, Spacey used this allegation as a basis for revealing his own sexuality, thereby distracting from the fact that this involved the molestation of a minor. Finally, Spacey’s use of his powerful position in Hollywood to allegedly prey on others sexually has become all too familiar in this pattern of sexual assault allegations. Therefore, we, the editorial board, believe that Spacey’s acting career should be over and support Netflix’s decision to cut ties with the actor.
Legally speaking, the allegations against Spacey have not been tried in court, however, Spacey had issued an apology after the initial accuser, Anthony Rapp, came forward, instead of denying the story. Spacey admitted that he does not “remember the encounter,” but also admitted that he was drunk, which might explain his lack of memory. Also, we are not talking about just one accuser. Twenty men, at least five of whom were teens at the time, have come forward, in addition to Rapp, and shared similar stories of Spacey trying to seduce them. It might be up to 20 now So, while Spacey may not yet be proven legally guilty, the allegations are strong and have not been publicly refuted by Spacey.
Kevin Spacey is a two-time Oscar winner and rather prominent in Hollywood. The addition of his talents to the Netflix Original Series House of Cards was a huge success for the streaming service, but now Spacey has put Netflix in a tough spot. House of Cards is one of Netflix’s highest-rated original series and is currently in production for its sixth season, but the numerous sexual assault allegations have forced Netflix to cut ties with Spacey. The writers must now rewrite the entire script without the character of Frank Underwood. We believe this is the right course of action amid this scandal. Sexual assault and harassment are never okay, and it is time that powerful sexual predators, like Spacey is alleged to be, be held accountable for his actions and made an example for other would-be predators. His reputation is ruined and his career will never be looked at the same.
Unfortunately, Spacey has become one of many men in powerful positions who have used their success and the power that goes with it to allegedly sexually abuse people in lesser powerful positions. This culture among men in Hollywood has been hidden for too long. The brave men and women who have recently come forward with their stories against these sexual predators are starting a conversation that will hopefully jumpstart a culture change in Hollywood. Though it is tough, the conversation needs to become more open.
This editorial was written by Derek Voltz based on a Media Milwaukee editorial board.