Sex scandals abound these days, it seems. It feels so much worse to me when it’s someone whose work I always admired, like Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, or Woody Allen. I had built these men up to such heights in my mind, I almost take it personally that they knocked themselves off my pedestals in such warped and heinous ways.
It could be argued that it’s not their problem that I erected those pedestals. They’re only human, after all. But on the other hand, they didn’t hesitate to enjoy the fruits of their fame, and along with that comes a certain amount of responsibility. And I really don’t think “don’t be a pervert” is too much to ask of anyone. I mean, I manage to follow that rule. Mostly. Fair’s fair.
But there’s another layer of complexity with Kevin Spacey, because he decided to pick this scandalous moment in time to come out as being gay. I mean, we all knew it already, didn’t we? It always kind of made me sad that he didn’t come out publicly much earlier, before it was forced out of him like some sort of awful confession. As a public figure, being that obviously closeted kind of sent a message that being gay is something to be ashamed of. I know it’s a career risk, because society is still stupid that way, but I honestly think that he was loved enough that he’d have survived it. It’s his business, of course, but he is a role model. I don’t want gay kids today (or any other day, for that matter) to feel shame for being who they are.
And as far as his dalliances with underage boys and his groping of people who did not welcome such behavior, he has pretty much admitted to all of that. Clearly he has a problem. But coming out as gay at this moment in time kind of makes it sound like he thinks that that’s the source of the problem. I have no idea whether he genuinely feels that way, but the timing of all of this makes me sad. I know plenty of gay people who don’t prey on children or put their hands in places where they’re not wanted.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I will never be able to watch the Cosby Show with the same level of joy again. Actually, I doubt I’ll ever be able to watch it, full stop, as I doubt anyone will ever have the courage to air it again. And that’s a pity, because that’s like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The Cosby Show taught me what a functional family looked like. Future generations won’t have the pleasure of seeing that.
And I haven’t been able to watch a Woody Allen movie in ages without it feeling tainted. I always kind of feel like I need to shower in bleach afterward. That’s never fun.
Here’s what I fear will happen whenever I see Kevin Spacey’s amazing talent now: He has played so many convincingly creepy bad guys that I can fully imagine what that anonymous guy must have felt, after having spurned Kevin’s attentions earlier in the evening, only to wake up to find Kevin lying on top of him, probably staring at him with those intense eyes. Personally, I’d have screamed. It’s the stuff of nightmares.
Thanks for that image, Kevin. Thanks loads.