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Look at Daily Mail, The New York Times, or even The Hill and you'll see a theme as far as Kevin Spacey is concerned.
"Spacey comes out as gay amid allegations of advance on teen boy," says the headline on The Hill.
"Kevin Spacey Criticized for Using Apology to Anthony Rapp to Come Out," The New York Times reports.
"'I choose now to live as a gay man': Kevin Spacey comes out after years of speculation... as he apologises for attempting to seduce actor Anthony Rapp, 14, 31 years after the incident," says the somewhat lurid headline from Daily Mail.
Exactly when did we as a society care more about a person's sexuality than we do about the crime they are alleged to have committed?
The headline from The New York Times strikes me as particularly troublesome. Nowhere does it mention the alleged sexual misconduct that actor Anthony Rapp discussed in his interview with Buzzfeed News; it states that Spacey apologized to the actor, and appears to emphasize that Spacey came out rather than the fact that he, like many others have experienced in Hollywood lately, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Daily Mail gets right to the point, and it appears that the alleged sexual misconduct is almost included as an afterthought in the headline.
Look, it does not matter a whit what your sexuality or your gender identity is, regardless of how much of a public figure you might be. If you are alleged to have done something inappropriate or even illegal, the media has the right to report it. While it is somewhat noteworthy that Spacey came out and views the current allegations against him as an opportunity to "address other things about [his] life," his coming out is most decidedly not the story here, and it should not be.
The fact of the matter is, sexuality should not matter anymore. Love who you want, identify as whatever gender you want; if you're a good person, no one should care about those intimate facets of your life except insofar as your happiness is concerned.
The secondary fact to this discussion is that sexuality continues to matter to so many, to the point in this case where a man's alleged sexual misconduct — and let's be clear, it's also illegal sexual behavior, given Rapp's age at the time — seems secondary to the fact that he has come out as gay.
It's little wonder that there continues to be a section in society that believes that being gay is the equivalent of admitting to some sort of sexual deviancy; while Spacey most decidedly did not use his sexuality as justification for what he termed "inappropriate drunken behavior" involving a 14-year-old, there are many on social media who are making those claims. Not once does the actor state that he was alleged to have committed this sexual crime and used his homosexuality as justification for the behavior. His unfortunate choice to come out while extending an apology to Rapp for his alleged sexual misconduct, however, has inextricably linked the two in the minds of many.
Here's the thing; his sexuality does not matter as far as his sexual misconduct in this case is concerned. Not even a little bit.
The choice by many in the media to make Spacey's coming out an apparent bigger deal than his alleged misconduct further perpetuates the notion that people don't take sexual crimes seriously anywhere.
It further perpetuates the notion that some have that being gay somehow justifies sexual crimes against minors, or anyone else for that matter. It does not.
If Spacey did indeed engage in sexual misconduct with Rapp when Rapp was a minor, that is a most serious crime. There is no way that Spacey's coming out should somehow be made more important by the media than his purported sexual misconduct.
In continuing to craft headlines that suggest that Spacey's coming out is the more important story, the media only further perpetuates the belief that crimes of a sexual nature are not as important as someone's sexuality, or that crimes of a sexual nature should somehow be diminished due to a person's age or gender.
The media needs to be more mindful of the message it's putting out to the public. It owes that honesty to those who read their headlines and the stories that accompany them.
We don't — or at least shouldn't — care about someone's sexuality.
We need to care about the crime the person has committed, regardless of sexuality or gender.
Someone's sexuality and the crime they commit are — or at least should be — mutually exclusive.