Kevin Spacey has lost his Netflix series House of Cards and future Netflix production relationship because of decades-old gossip that he made homosexual advances toward a biologically post-pubescent man. Fourteen isn’t a man? Tell that to Blaize Teague, a 14-year-old being tried as an adult for murder in Oklahoma.
I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't have the guts to write it myself instead of just agreeing with it once someone else stuck his neck out.
Yes, I know there's more to it than the above. Not all of the claims are old -- some of them are from staff/crew on House of Cards itself -- and not all of them are as trite as "he made a pass at me and I didn't like it so I got out of there."
One of them is from another guy who claims he engaged in a consensual relationship with Spacey, who was then in his early 20s, as a 14 and 15 year old. Now the guy has decided that he was being manipulated by a predator. Then, he apparently didn't think so.
Personally, I find the idea of sex, or a romantic relationship, with a teenager to get creepier and creepier as the age of the other party increases. That is, a 20-year-old and a 17-year-old, no biggie. A 24 year-old and a 16-year-old, not quite kosher. A 30-year-old and a 14-year-old, creep alert. Any adult and someone 12 or under and I'm throwing the "not capable of meaning consent" flag on the play and asking a jury to sort it out ("age of consent" laws are BS, as individuals differ as to when they can meaningfully consent; I've written at more length on that before).
But that's just me. At a remove of decades, there's plenty of he said / he said factor as to the facts, and there's also a "changed my mind over the years" factor as to whether the alleged victim was willing or unwilling and able or unable to consent. So I'm content to just say "well, that sounds like it was pretty creepy, not sure I like Kevin Spacey very much" and get on with my life instead of calling for the guy's head on a platter.
I can't say I agree with Schulman entirely. For one thing, no, it is not libel to state something not yet proven. For another, no, we don't all owe everyone a presumption of innocence until proof of guilt is established beyond reasonable doubt. That's a worthy standard for criminal prosecutions, but not for personal opinions.
The witch hunt metaphor is well done, but my preferred metaphor is a more genteel (so far) version of China's Cultural Revolution, starting on American college campuses and now ramifying through society in "show me on the doll where Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey touched you" form.
But it's still a good piece, so go read it. And thanks for saying what others were afraid to say, Neil.