By DANNY LAROSE
When allegations of Kevin Spacey molesting an underage boy in 1986 were all but confirmed by Spacey’s public apology Sunday evening, a news media uproar understandably ensued. However, ABC News seemed to take lightly to the revelation as it released a breaking headline that chose not to point out Spacey’s actions but rather his “coming out.”
Spacey’s apology culminated in his openly declaring his homosexuality, which many have speculated was an attempt to divert attention away from the circumstances behind his actual apology. ABC, however, took the bait. It published a headline that did not mention his apology for molestation, but rather referred to it as a “heartwrenching” coming out story.
Gay people, straight people, famous comedians and actors, and your average Joe on Twitter all responded to Spacey’s “coming out story” with immense backlash. They called the actor out for conflating homosexuality with pedophilia, a bigoted allegation the gay community once had to consistently battle against, and took issue with his attempt to essentially, as one tweeter called it, use his ‘get out of jail free card’ by saying “I am gay.”
ABC News, in avoiding the major story in this apology, which is the apology for the molestation of a 14 year-old-boy, and instead choosing to highlight Spacey’s coming out of the closet, is appalling. First, ABC is allowing Spacey this cop out, affording him the luxury of basically saying “don’t focus on that, focus on the fact that I am gay.” Focusing on Spacey’s homosexuality instead does a massive disservice to both the gay community who criticized Spacey for the manner in which he came out, and the victim(s) of Spacey’s abuse.
Second, ABC is ignoring journalistic standards by highlighting what should be perceived as secondary information. Most news outlets reported Kevin Spacey’s apology most prominently as well as the circumstances that called for such an apology, but ABC made it the main story. The headlining is akin to beginning a news report with a bus crash and waiting until the end of the story to inform the viewer that there was a death.
Finally, ABC’s use of the word “heartwrenching” is simply incorrect. Any decent human being will point out that “heartwrenching” is not the applicable word when reporting on a sex offender. Nothing about Spacey’s actions or apology was heartwrenching because he is not the victim. He is at fault and he does not deserve the sympathy that ABC allots him with this generous phrase and headline.
ABC dropped the ball covering the Kevin Spacey apology in an extraordinarily embarrassing way. Let’s hope they don’t do anything like it again.