“You think you can catch Keyser Soze? You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught and sticks his head out? If he comes up for anything it’ll be to get rid of me. After that… my guess is you’ll never hear from him again.”
For many of us these words not only reflected a great film, but embodied the life and career of the man who spoke them. The movie of course is the 1995 classic ‘The Usual Suspects,’ but the actor who famously spoke them was none other than one Kevin Spacey.
I’d read the words of the Hollywood star again and after allegations emerged from then child actor Anthony Rapp that in 1986, Spacey invited the fourteen-year-old to his bedroom and attempted to seduce him. But this monologue is of fascinating relevance to help explain the scandal.
The surprising thing about this scandal is not the fact that it happened, as we’ve seen a flurry of rape and sexual assault allegations recently, starting with Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The baffling question we are all asking surrounds the ham-fisted and incoherent response which Spacey delivered via Twitter.
Spacey initially claimed that he did “not remember the encounter” but proceeded to acknowledge it could have happened. The unfortunate reality is that Spacey’s best intentions could not have been checked by a lawyer, let alone a public relations specialist and the circus which surround him is largely of his own making.
The fact is that we are all left wondering how a “guy like that comes this close to getting caught and sticks his head out.”
But in the hope that we would “never hear from him again” on the question of inappropriate sexual advance of a minor, Spacey attempts to change the focus story backfired horrifically. The second paragraph of the tweet went on a tangent which eventually led to the announcement that Spacey has now chosen to “live as a gay man.”
Whilst personally I had always believed the worst kept secret in Hollywood was that Spacey was gay, I believe it was his right to keep his sexuality off limits to the public. However, what I truly question is the timing of his statement which has been questioned by LGBT activists such as Guy Branum who tweeted “the classiest way to come out of the closet is as a PR smoke smokescreen.”
For such an announcement for a senior Hollywood figure to come out as gay would normally be a triumph for the LGBT community, but the fact that majority of organisations cannot support him speaks volumes. The fact that Spacey has implicitly provided contemporary validation to the stereotype that gay men are paedophiles is unacceptable, and for what? An attempted diversion to the allegations he might have sexually approached a minor.
This truly is disappointing from someone who has used one of the successes of the LGBT community to exercise his right not disclose his sexual orientation as an attempt to deflect public outrage.
But what has happened is that these allegations have reared their head after 30 years and do seem destined “to get rid of me.” With Netflix announcing that after the current season six that Spacey’s hit House of Cards will be withdrawn, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences admitting that they will not proceed with a planned award for Spacey and his part in Ridley Scott’s biopic All the Money in the World being recast with Christopher Plummer weeks before release, the attempt to airbrush Spacey’s toxic image from high profile institutions is underway.
With Spacey now under investigation by the Metropolitan Police in the wake of fresh allegations, the Hollywood star finds his reputation in tatters. With the allegations emerging from colleagues during his time as artistic director at the Old Vic Theatre between 2004-15, he finds his artistic legacy destroyed.
So, it begs the question, do “you think you can catch Keyser Soze?” Well the media truly think they have and in lieu of the abhorrent Weinstein allegations, Spacey is rightly under intense scrutiny for his actions. Spacey in the film said that “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”- It’s left to us to find if Spacey is the devil we seek in the aftermath of this latest Hollywood saga, or merely one of many as Hollywood continues to vent it’s dark past.
The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.
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