The Advocate magazine, a widely-circulated LGBT publication, has come forward to admit that they were aware of Anthony Rapp’s sexual harassment allegations against “House of Cards” actor Kevin Spacey back in 2001 but did not come forward about them for fear of prematurely outing Spacey as gay.
In an article titled “Why Did The Advocate Redact Kevin Spacey’s Name in 2001?” by Daniel Reynolds, it was revealed that Rapp had asked then-editor in chief Bruce C. Steele to help spread the word about CDs that he and former Advocate freelance writer Dennis Hensley had produced.
Hensley and Rapp met for an informal interview and began discussing unrelated things when the topic of closeted actors came up, prompting Hensley to say: “That makes me think of [a certain leading man] in [a certain award-winning film.]”
While the name and film were redacted in the 2001 article, it turns out that Hensley and Rapp were talking about Spacey.
“It’s hard for me to evaluate his acting because I’m so angry at him,” Rapp replied. “I met him when I was 14 because we were both in plays and he invited me to a party at his house. I was bored, so I was in his bedroom watching TV and didn’t know everybody had left, and he came into the bedroom and he picked me up and lay down on top of me.”
That account, which ran in the 2001 article, is identical to the account that Rapp eventually provided to Buzzfeed News sixteen years later. It is the same account that Spacey vaguely apologized for before coming out as gay.
According to Hensley, Spacey’s name was redacted from the original article because it allegedly never would have been published if it had included it.
“It just felt like a lot more of a legal mess than we’d want to get into,” he recalled. “We weren’t doing a big exposé. We were just having a conversation about music and stuff. It didn’t seem like the time or place to try to break that big nugget.”
Steele also noted that The Advocate had a strict “no outing” policy that prohibited the publication and its writers from releasing the names of closeted actors. The policy has been expanded to no longer cover actors who are secretly gay but speak out against the LGBT community, actors who may cause harm to others (ahem), and actors who are out in public life.