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No, Kevin Spacey, Losing Work Due to Sexual Assault Allegations Is Not Like Pandemic Job Loss

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

In a recent video appearance as part of a German business conference called Bits & Pretzels, actor Kevin Spacey compared his loss of work due to sexual assault allegations to the unemployment crisis so many are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think it will come as a surprise for anyone that my world completely changed in the fall of 2017. My job, my relationships and my standing in my own industry were gone in just a matter of hours,” he said in the 10-minute video streamed virtually from his home, adding:

In this instance, I feel as though I can relate to what it feels like to have your world suddenly stop. And so while we may have found ourselves in similar situations — albeit for very different reasons — I still feel that some of the emotional struggles are very much the same. And so I do have empathy for what it feels like to suddenly be told that you can’t go back to work, or that you might lose your job, and it’s a situation you have absolutely no control over.

Self-indulgent, hypocritical, ignorant… these are just some of the words swirling around in my head as I sit here listening to Kevin Spacey blather on for 10 minutes about how him losing everything due to his sexual assault allegations is just like losing jobs or opportunities due to COVID-19

His speech was a whirlwind of self-pity, making excuses for his dubious behavior and a complete lack of remorse or acceptance of any responsibility for his actions. For an actor, it was an astonishingly disingenuous performance at best and an insult to the suffering of anyone who has found themselves jobless and struggling to make ends meet due to this pandemic.  

How dare he feign empathy toward those who, through no fault of their own, have had their entire lives disrupted and now face real financial and emotional devastation? He, from his platform of privilege, who could afford to spend time turning inward to find an opportunity in what he experienced and grow from it. It’s arrogant and egotistical.

Mr. Spacey found himself where he did because he sexually assaulted someone and never expected to get caught. There’s nobody to blame for his situation but himself and his actions. I have no empathy for him, nor does he have any right to speak in platitudes about learning from what happened to him, as if he suffered from some unimaginable wound. He happened to himself. He’s got to deal with the consequences of his actions just as the survivors of his assaults had to deal with the ramifications of it for the rest of their lives. If we should be hearing from anyone about survival, it is from them. 

Sexual assault survivors understand a bit about trying to find opportunity in devastation and about surviving trauma. As a survivor myself, I am astounded and angered by his arrogance. We are the ones who are perhaps best equipped to support those who are being victimized and rendered helpless by something beyond their power to control. I see around me people who have never dealt with a crisis and trauma like this who are hardly able to put one foot ahead of another. People are trying to just stay alive, literally. They do not need “motivational speeches” from an ex-celebrity sexual predator about how they can become better people because of what they are going through. Shame on him. 

Screenshot via YouTube

Originally published: May 7, 2020
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