One of my favorite movies is American Beauty. If you haven't seen it, it stars Kevin Spacey and follows his lustful obsession over his daughters young, beautiful, blonde friend. A movie reminiscent of Donnie Darko, follows Spacey as he rediscovers what it means to love his life. Spacey won an academy award for his role in this movie, which contains commentary on LGBTQ rights, and the power dynamics between the young and the old. Because of this, the Spacey scandal came as a surprise.
If you haven't heard about the Kevin Spacey allegations and want to learn more, click here.
People are very upset with Spacey's response to the accusation that he sexually harassed a 14 year old boy in the '80's. As the Los Angeles Times put it, "The impression that Spacey, who for years has evaded questions about his sexual orientation, would finally publicly embrace his gay identity only in response to a story alleging predatory behavior toward a minor left many outraged -- not only by the apparent attempt at deflection, but also the inadvertent conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia."
As someone who is studying nonprofit communications, I was really interested to hear how the people fighting for LGBTQ+ rights were responding to this. Did Spacey come out in an inappropriate way? What was his PR team thinking?
In an article posted by Spectrum News, Loretta Holland, the executive producer of The Waterloo Center, spoke on the issue. “It’s perceived that he’s linking the allegations against him being gay or being closeted, and those two are very separate things,” said Loretta Holland, executive director of Waterloo Counseling Center. “They don’t have anything to do with each other. There’s an old stigma around if you’re gay then you’re doing sexually inappropriate things, and I think that’s what people are reacting to.”
I am happy that sexual assault survivors are empowered to speak out against these issues, and I am intrigued to see how other nonprofit organizations use this momentum to fight against these actions.