News of Kevin Spacey’s predatory behavior and actions made me take pause. Not a week prior to Anthony Rapp’s announcement I’d been gushing to friends about how much I adored the actor. Suddenly I was sitting in my room absolutely disgusted with him, with his work, and with the statement he made following Rapp’s allegations.
On top of being angry at Kevin Spacey and the millions of other men like him who prey on people, I was angry at myself for not seeing this coming. As a victim of sexual assault this month has been difficult. I’ve had vivid nightmares about being victimized again. I’ve had nightmares about it happening to my daughter. It’s been night after night, day after day of thinking it might be best just to shut the world out for a little while.
I’m also angry that I allowed myself to “stan” yet another celebrity, when I really should have learned my lesson on that eleven years ago.
In 2006 I was a huge, massive, obsessive fan of an unnamed musician who at that time hadn’t yet hit it big. This musician had a pretty stellar EP with a catchy, and fun loving hit that was perfect when it dropped in the early 2000’s. And it did well on the charts, but never made it into the top 20. It lingered a few weeks before being pushed out by Brittany Spears, U2, and several others.
Sadly, none of the other singles from that album really charted and by his second and third record he’d fallen completely off the radar, deemed a one hit wonder. Despite this, I stayed faithful, keeping up with his albums and touring schedule through his MySpace account, which he did personally use (remember, this is before Twitter) and updated almost daily.
I had the pleasure of seeing him play a small show in 2005 and he was every bit as talented live as I expected him to be. I knew every lyric to every album, I knew where he was born, who he used to be married to (something current Wikipedia doesn’t even know) and I have to remind you that this was before Wikipedia was even a thing. Back then if you wanted to know something about a celeb, especially a minor one, you had to be thorough and meticulous. And his loyal fans were. Oh, we were.
Fast forward to 2006 and he’s still updating his MySpace, still hasn’t reclaimed his position in music celeb land, but he’s making music, touring, and doing all the things professional musicians do. After a long flight one day he created a post wherein he described a hellish flight experience. And in several paragraphs who tore to pieces two fellow travelers in what I can only describe as immature, juvenile, and downright cruel.
He shamed the travelers by insinuating they’d never flown first class before because they probably couldn’t afford it and they were poor. He called them obnoxious tourists, he made fun of their weight (a bit hefty), their age (sixties or seventies), and generally took them to task, leaving no cruel, insulting stone unturned. Their crime? Their existence. These two elderly strangers hadn’t actually done anything to him. No one else was bothered by them. But for whatever reason he decided he hated them and he wrote a lengthy public post on MySpace about it.
Several fans were disturbed by his post. Many commenting that he was being rude, asking why he was so upset, questioning his reason for attacking these people this way. I too was perturbed. This behavior was so bullying and childish and not at all what I expected from my favorite celeb.
And I had an “aha” moment: just because he’s somewhat famous, doesn’t mean he’s actually a decent human. Mind was officially blown.
A few years later he released an album that blew up and for about 3 years after that he was considered music royalty. He had three singles from that album chart, including one that featured another one hit wonder artist who has since faded into obscurity, and he really seemed back on top of the world again.
But, I didn’t buy the album. I didn’t download the singles. And I didn’t watch the music videos. Because I saw what was behind the carefree, charming, love conquers all facade that so many people fell in love with. And I could no longer stomach it.
I realized then and I realize now that these people we worship are just that: people. When we love their work, be it music, or literature, or film, or even YouTube and Instagram fame, sometimes we assume that they’re perfectly balanced individuals that really are as pure and put together as their PR teams would have you believe.
But, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And sometimes shitty human beings get that power. They become famous directors, producers, writers, musicians, actors, and Influencers and they are still monsters behind the scenes…where it really counts.
Anthony Rapp isn’t an anomaly. He is the norm. What happened to him, what happens to millions of men and women in this country and these industries is the norm. But, we help perpetuate it. That’s right…you and me. We continue the victimization of people like Rapp every time we defend these actions on Twitter. We do it every time we see one of their movies anyways. We do it with our words and our paychecks and that’s why they know they can’t be stopped so they don’t stop: because we keep giving them all the incentive they need to keep it up.
I will never watch another Weinstein, Ratner, Spacey product again, just as I’ve never seen a single Woody Allen film. I will not defend their predatory behavior and their sexual assaults by lining their pockets and the pockets of their companies with my cash. And I will not worship any human, celebrity or not, again.
Because blind faith breeds manipulation. And it’s time we stop allowing these predators and this predatory industry to manipulate and smudge the line between right and wrong. We’re the ones who have to put a stop to this. We’re the ones who need to start takings some responsibility for the actions of our brothers, our fathers, our sons, and our friends. It starts with us. It starts at home.