Matthew Allen ’21
With rumors and allegations swarming about Kevin Spacey, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. On Jan. 7, I attended the actor’s arraignment on Nantucket, Massachusetts. Upon his arrival, the ambiance of Nantucket quickly turned into that of a zoo. Flocks of cameramen stood outside the courtroom in high anticipation, their cameras pointed like lasers waiting for the beast to emerge while interviewers pushed and shoved each other in barbaric fashion. Journalists buzzed with excitement outside of their respective news trucks, which were stacked in front of each other like dominoes. The people inside all whispered and pointed subtly, as if not to be outwardly rude, at the spectacle before them: Kevin Spacey. He’s seen better days. His hair, now fully greyed and his face, now covered in wrinkles, looks worlds different from his once poised and lively character in the Netflix series, “House of Cards.”
And rightfully so. More than thirty individuals have now come forward and made allegations against Spacey. But with this case in particular, in which Spacey has been accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old busboy at a Nantucket bar, it doesn’t seem likely that the actor will be given his much deserved “guilty” verdict.
Consent. The strongest piece of evidence that prosecutors could have on their side, as it stands, is very much up in the air. How? For one, it seems suspicious that the busboy changed out of his working clothes only to meet back at the bar with Spacey in another outfit after his shift. But perhaps even more suspicious is that the accuser admittedly lied about his age, telling Spacey that he was a 23-year-old college student and knowingly accepted drinks from him all the while. With 21 set as the legal age to drink, Spacey very well may have thought that he was drinking with another adult. The accuser also claims that Spacey reached into his pants and grabbed his genitals. Unwanted sexual assault of any kind, of course, is disgusting and illegal, but the lack of evidence to suggest that Spacey’s behavior was “unwanted” and that the victim took action to signal his discomfort is where the prosecution’s efforts will, unfortunately, prove futile.
Even if Spacey’s actions were to be found nonconsensual, it wouldn’t surprise me if he were somehow let off the hook. Grabbing another’s genitals, as it turns out, hasn’t been taken all that seriously. Need I remind you of our very own president who did the same and was not only ignored punishment but rewarded with the highest position in America? Our standards have apparently reached a new low.
I am by no means dismissing all of the other accusations that have surfaced against Spacey. Let that be clear. Hollywood is riddled with sexual predators and I would love no more than to see one of them caught, not only for their own behavior, but as a message to all predators who think they are invincible. I am convinced, however, that the result of this case will be disappointing. A guilty verdict does not seem promising this time around.