In the past week a slew of sexual assault and harassment allegations have been leveled against veteran Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey.
It started with Anthony Rapp coming forward with the first public sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey on October 29. Since then more men have come forward to tell their own story of sexual harassment or assault.
The allegations span four decades and two continents and demonstrate a very familiar pattern of abuse. A pattern of taking advantage of young, impressionable industry hopefuls and then using veiled threats to keep them quiet.
But the story of Kevin Spacey has also placed a spotlight on a different kind of sexual abuse.
As Buzzfeed reports, for the past four decades Spacey has used the closet to protect himself from any repercussions from his actions. He “weaponised” the closet and manipulated it so that his alleged victims did not feel safe coming forward.
He used the closet as a veil of protection in two ways. Firstly, the young men he allegedly abused and harassed did not want to “out” him by coming forward with their allegations, and secondly, some of his victims were also fearful of being “outed” themselves if they went public with their claims.
LISTEN: We need to talk about Kevin Spacey. Post continues after audio…
Buzzfeed spoke to a journalist who was allegedly sexually harassed by Kevin Spacey when he interviewed him for a story in the early 2000s. The interview, which took place at Spacey’s office at the Old Vic theater in London, went well but then Spacey invited the journalist for some drinks with some friends.
Soon after they arrived at the bar, Spacey began aggressively groping the reporter.
“He just kept reaching between my legs and, you know, just grabbing my dick,” he told Buzzfeed. “I would move his hand away, and say something that I thought was pretending was funny or whatever at first. And then I was starting to get annoyed by it, and that was pretty clear.”
“I got up to leave at one point, and [Spacey] sort of grabbed me, and tried to make me stay,” he continued. “I ended up sitting back down. He kept rubbing my leg. I moved seats. He came over and sat next to me again. I was trying not to make a big scene, because I had an assignment to write about him.”
The night ended with Spacey cornering the journalist and yelling at him for rejecting his advances.
“This man was screaming in my face outside of the main bar area, red-faced, spit flying out of his mouth, screaming at me with fury because I didn’t want to f**k him. He was actually saying that I did want to and I was a coward. That was his tactic. It was unbelievable.”