The Spacey Between Us

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kevin Spacey was the celebrity that I least expected to ever see associated with a scandal.

I've been a fan of his for nearly 20 years, ever since I watched American Beauty in a hotel room while on a business trip. To say that the past few weeks have not been an easy time for Kevin Spacey fans is an understatement. At many times it has felt like a nightmare that I cannot wake up from.

I'm sad, and confused. I don't know what to believe. I'm at a loss as to what to do with the DVDs of his movies I own. I can't bear to toss them and yet at the same time it's going to be a while before I can bear to watch any of them again.

I don't know how much I'm allowed to say about the allegations against him here on this blog only because the AdSense police have already flagged my site a few times for content that violates their terms and conditions. There's no need for me to rehash it all here anyway; everyone knows why Kevin Spacey could be in serious trouble.

The conflict for me is that the allegations are just that: allegations. There's no concrete evidence as of this writing that anything Spacey has been accused of has actually taken place. Some of the incidents also supposedly occurred over 30 years ago. And yet there's so many of them, too many to not believe that at least some of them are true. Not to mention he checked himself into rehab, which seems to indicate guilt and acknowledgment that he has a real problem.

In a matter of days, an entire career that was built up over decades was demolished. He was even removed from his next film to be released, All the Money In the World, replaced by Christopher Plummer. It's one of the biggest Hollywood scandals to date and we're all witnessing it.

I'm shocked because as a fan who followed Spacey's career during the past several years, I can tell you of the numerous humanitarian work the man has done when not performing. He has always cited his mentor, Jack Lemmon, with "sending the elevator back down" or helping others with their careers once you've done well for yourself. His foundation did just that, by giving grants to promising new talent in the entertainment industry.

Spacey has also participated in the Best Buddies Challenge, which teams participants with individuals with developmental disabilities on a bike ride; there's several photos online of Spacey charming kids and babies during this event. He also visited the Atlanta Children's Hospital in 2016 to entertain the kids while making the movie Baby Driver there (the film where another actor recently said he treated everyone like a bully on the set), even introducing the patients to a young singer whose singing wowed him while he was in Nashville.

He's visited a nursing home dedicated to retirees from the world of showbiz, participated and emceed at numerous charitable events, and pretty much every dog he's adopted during the past several years came from a shelter.

This is the Kevin Spacey that his dedicated fans believe him to be, which is why the stories about his behavior that have been coming in droves since October 30 are so disturbing. How could this be the same man so many people are claiming violated and used his power to intimate others?

And if it weren't for him, I never would have discovered Bobby Darin or at least, it would have taken me much longer to do so.

Although it is not an excuse for his behavior, if it is indeed true, but the stories about his childhood and upbringing that his brother Randy Fowler was telling the press may explain a lot. I remember Fowler tried exposing his family's secrets a good decade ago but it didn't get picked up by the press and I dismissed them, thinking he was simply a jealous older brother trying to make a buck off of his famous younger one.

But maybe we have reason to believe Fowler, despite his eccentric appearance (he's a limo driver who also may be a Rod Stewart impersonator. And he looks nothing like his younger brother Kevin.)

If Fowler's story about he and Kevin's father is true, then it's tragic and soul shattering. Fowler claims the patriarch was emotionally, sexually, and physically abusive and while he isn't sure if Kevin ever got attacked, he was on the receiving end many times. Mother Kathleen knew but didn't do anything to try and stop it, or protect her kids. Fowler also says their dear old dad worshipped Adolph Hitler and once made him quit the boy scouts when he learned the scoutmaster was Jewish. In pictures that have surfaced over the past few weeks, Thomas Fowler -- Randy and Kevin's dad -- is even shown sporting a Hitler mustache and similar hairstyle.

Thomas Fowler was a struggling writer who was often unemployed. The one family vacation Randy Fowler remembers was to visit a nudist colony. He said they were short on money so often that he and his siblings didn't visit a dentist for several years.

Randy believes that his father's genes, unfortunately, may have been passed onto his brother Kevin, which explains the numerous allegations stacking up against him. He says many stories Kevin has told to the press throughout the years, such as being kicked out of military school, were really Randy's experiences. He says Kevin retreated into acting and disappeared into becoming someone else as a way of dealing with a miserable home life.

(Spacey, by the way, was the mother's maiden name and he adopted it before embarking on an acting career, as Randy said Fowler didn't sound Hollywood enough.)

If these stories are true then I admit I feel sorry for Kevin Spacey. It's not an excuse for behavior that he should have known was harmful, but it may help explain a knee-jerk reaction of coming onto and groping unsuspecting victims.

And yet, does...should...all of this erase an entire career? In the past couple of weeks I've noticed that YouTube videos of Spacey have not been removed. Twitter accounts dedicated to his fans have not been deleted. Pinterest boards dedicated to him are still intact. I admit, I watched clips from American Beauty the other night and still find his performance every bit as entertaining as the first time I saw it 18 years ago. I still like the guy. It may not be the popular opinion, but it's true.

Maybe we're all waiting for the latest plot twist in this saga, and that we find out it was all just a big joke. Some are saying his career is over and that he's going to jail.

Me, I'd like to think that a year from now Kevin Spacey will give a sit-down, tell-all interview and explain himself. Hollywood often has a short memory.

I guess the next act remains to be seen.

47 comments:

  1. You feel about Spacey the way I felt about Bill Cosby when he went through a similar grinder: absolute disbelief that someone so familiar and beloved could have this other side.

    In my blog next week, I'll address these sexual harassment scandals from the angle of the movie fan. I agree that whatever Spacey may or may not have done shouldn't mean striking his films from the record or taking back his two Oscars. I didn't know about all that charitable work he had done; that's interesting.

    Hollywood does indeed have a short memory; just look at Mel Gibson. I think it'll take longer than a year for Spacey's Barbara Walters or Mike Wallace interview, though. Call it a hunch.

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    1. I look forward to reading your blog post. It feels so conflicting. My dad always said that every celeb has a public and a private side.

      In addition to his charitable work, Spacey also revitalized the Old Vic theater in London when he came on as artistic director. I believe I read the theater was in dire straights and close to being shuttered.

      Well, Mike Wallace is dead so that interview definitely won't be happening. :) I think Barbara Walters is more or less retired.

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  2. I understand what you mean. I think any fan, even the most heartbroken, will still keep it up in honour of him, and choose to remember the Kevin Spacey we remember from television and film, rather than the disgraced person he has now come to be known as. If that comes across as disrespectful, then I am sorry to those who have been affected negatively by him. It is the only way fans can deal with this horrific scandal.

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    1. I've already decided I'm not going to stop being a fan and watching his work. I'm not so sure I believe all of the allegations and without any evidence it's going to be impossible to prove what took place. I don't think it's right to want to erase the work of an artist because of what may have taken place in his private life. If we were to do that then there would be an awful lot of entertainers whose careers would automatically become nulled and voided.

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  3. Kevin Spacey was the last person I expected to take a fall from grace. I was not really into him, but I did enjoy him in "A Bug's Life" and saw him last year in "Nine Lives". When you stop and think about it, it's astonishing how many celebrities, who were once popular figures with the public, have had something happen that led to their names going down in infamy; O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Jimmy Savile, the list goes on and on. If this is just a misunderstanding, it's a tragic injustice. If it's true, it's a tragic fall from Grace. Great actor, terrible human being. Sometimes, we don't know who we are praising.

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    1. Oh, yes, he was the voice of Hopper. When the allegations came out, Disney actually moved his character backstage. https://www.reddit.com/r/mildlyinteresting/comments/7bz1sv/kevin_spaceys_character_in_a_bugs_life_is_tucked/

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    2. It wasn't in response to the allegations through.

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  4. Pam, I'm glad you wrote this piece. I don't know exactly what the hell is going on, but I think that America is in a state of ridiculous hysteria over claims of alleged sexual harassment by famous people! This has become epidemic like the McCarthy communist scare of the 50s, and is really making us look like virgin prudes.
    Are we really supposed to believe that the dozens of notable men who have been summarily accused and then arbitrarily fired from their positions were all monsters who lurked behind the silver screen, or some such nonsense? This has become totally absurd. And what makes it more hypocritical is that the so-called "President" is on record as having actually said lewd comments about women, yet, nobody has removed him from the presidency! He's been rewarded.
    As I asked, what the hell is happening to this country? We're at the point now where if a man looks at another human, male or female, then he'll be accused of sexual misconduct. GMAFB! America is nuts. The Puritans are coming--the Puritans are coming! Don't play Baby It's Cold Outside this Christmas, or you'll be arrested by diaper clad, Iphone-pacified Millennials and feminazis on the march.

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    1. Funny you mentioned "Baby It's Cold Outside", as last year I wrote this post about it:
      http://www.goretro.com/2016/12/why-baby-its-cold-outside-is-not-about.html

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  5. I too am having a hard time with these allegations. I first heard the allegations the day after I introduced my son to American Beauty. I wanted my son to see him in the role that created a fan out of me. My son's only experience with him was on House of Cards, which captivated me....and I'm not a huge fan of politics in general. My son was also the first person to share these allegations with me. While my son refuses to watch anything having to do with Kevin Spacey, I just can't bring myself to do it.

    I am having a hard time believing Anthony Rapp, a mediocre actor at best. Most roles he's played have been douchebags, or creeps. The only shining point I'll give him is his role in RENT, which is still one of my favorite movies. I refuse to watch ANY of his films because I see him an an opportunist, a liar, and after his acts of revenge, a complete cad.

    What I find interesting is that people compare Kevin Spacey to his role in American Beauty where he attempts to hook up with his daughter's best friend. She comes on to him, and in the end does not have sex with her. However, people seem to forget that Anthony Rapp plays a similar character in Dazed and Confused. He plays a student about to graduate high school, which would make him 18. He then pursues a love interest with a female character who is about to graduate from EIGHTH GRADE....which would make her THIRTEEN or FOURTEEN at most. To me, there is no difference and if you really were so tormented by an act of sexual assault, you don't willingly play this kind of role.

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    1. Believe it or not, I've never seen the movie "Dazed and Confused"...but what you've pointed out about the character Rapp plays in it is definitely ironic and eyebrow raising.

      No matter what become of Spacey's legacy, I believe "American Beauty" will stand the test of time and be used in film schools as an example of stellar filmmaking. No matter what people think of the character of Lester Burnham, I can tell you that through the years I've yet to meet a married guy that disliked the movie. In fact, they LOVE it and Lester Burnham, which seems revealing of what the life of the average American married male is like.

      Rapp's legacy by this point seems to be that he'll be known mostly for his allegations against Spacey and not so much his career.

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    2. I still think his best character acting was Verbal in Usual Suspects. His performance in that was fantastic. But American Beauty cemented his ability to be a leading man.

      And you're right about R*pp. I still find it very interesting that he doesn't mention his encounter with Spacey in his autobiography. Even if the text left out Kevin's name, why was the incident not important enough to put in his book - especially since R*pp detailed every sex encounter he had with a man in detail - but now he couldn't wait to tell the world about it. I've read R*pp's story a few times (both in Buzzfeed & the original Advocate story) and there's something missing. He's not telling us everything.

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  6. One thing's for certain; Spacey's career will almost certainly never be revived.

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  7. One thing's for certain; Spacey's career will almost certainly never be revived.

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  8. Roman Polanski, admittedly from a different era, still has his admirers in Hollywood despite a historic rape conviction.

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  9. Speaking of celebrities taking a fall from grace, I recommend to you, that you watch the documentary miniseries "O.J.: Made In America". It examines O.J. Simpson rise to celebrity, and his infamous fall from grace. You might find it interesting.

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    1. That was a great documentary. I highly recommend it to you Pam.

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  10. This movement is crazy as the credibility of the accusers is never questioned. If you read Anthony Rapp’s book “Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent”, you would find him as 14 year old was highly sexually aware. And he sat on Spacey’s bed? ( by his own accounts and Spacey could not recall) I don’t want to go to details in a public forum. I have decency that Rapp does not have.

    I reckon Spacey’s lawyer knows what to do. Spacey should sue Rapp for defamation when this metoo mania dies down.

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  11. That's how I felt when I heard about Garrison Keillor. I've loved him for 30 years. Very upsetting.
    Kathy

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    1. Regarding Garrison Keillor, it sounded to me like he was simply consoling an upset coworker by putting his hand on her shoulder or upper back and she overreacted and made a big flipping deal about it. Hardly what I would classify as sexual assault, unless something else happened that wasn't reported in the media.

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  12. I recently watched American Beauty again for the first time since the allegations. It's my favourite movie of all time, and always strikes up emotion in me but this time watching it I cried my eyes out at the end. I've realised that Kevin did was wrong, yes, but it doesn't necessarily make him a completely bad man through and through. He has made some bad choices and, I pray he has to come to terms with the mistakes he has made and realise why he made them. Regardless of what he did in his private life, Kevin is a great actor, and nothing will ever change that.

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  13. In spite of what has happened, and his unknown future, I will still remember the Kevin Spacey we knew for years before October 2017. Maybe it is wrong to admire a man who has been accused of horrific things, but whatever the actor is now, he did do a lot of good numerous humanitarian work valiantly in the past.

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  14. I am glad that you have mentioned of the numerous humanitarian work the man did. Maybe it is wrong to still admire him, considering the horrible things he has said to have done, but whatever the man is now, he has served the needs of lesser people valiantly in the past, a fact that makes his supposed crimes more serious.

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  15. Pam. I recently watched American Beauty again for the first time since the allegations. It's my favourite movie of all time, and always strikes up emotion in me but this time watching it I cried my eyes out at the end. I've realised that Kevin did was wrong, yes, but it doesn't necessarily make him a completely bad man through and through. He has made some bad choices and, I pray he has to come to terms with the mistakes he has made and realise why he made them. Regardless of what he did in his private life, Kevin is a great actor, and nothing will ever change that.

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    1. I really think, based on what his brother has revealed, that mental illness runs in the family and he inherited his father's sexual predator traits, sadly. I don't think it's curable but hopefully there are measures and treatments one can take to keep it under control. But as you said, regardless of that, no one can take away the amazing performances he's given. American Beauty will surely stand the test of time.

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    2. 1) Whatever truth might be in Randy’s story about their father is diminished by his need to use Kevin’s fame for attention, and by his compulsion to trash his brother whenever he sees an opening. They’ve been estranged for years. For me, he lacks credibility. Randy clearly has some serious problems and he needs help from a mental health professional.

      2) I don’t believe Kevin is a predator, and I hate that word - as people misuse it constantly with regard to people seeking sexual encounters. I don’t believe that Kevin’s behavior was ever motivated by sinister intent.

      3) Of course Kevin’s issues can be addressed and treated, leading to recovery. I mean, isn’t keeping compulsive behavior under control considered recovery? Treating any kind of behavioral issue takes commitment and time, but to think that people can’t do well after therapy, or during therapy suggests anyone who seeks help should just throw in the towel.

      4) I totally agree with you that no one can take away his amazing performances or his brilliant career.

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  16. As someone who grew up in a world, where Kevin was a national treasure, I will look back on his films and shows, as accomplishments. I understand, that for some people, it will be awkward seeing him on screen, but I will never deny what he succeeded in. Nor the fact of his humanitarian efforts. I do believe, that no matter what, he is a good person, underneath, and pray he get the treatment he needs, so he can start himself anew.

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  17. Pam. As someone who grew up in a world, where Kevin was a national treasure, I will look back on his films and shows, as accomplishments. I understand, that for some people, it will be awkward seeing him on screen, but I will never deny what he succeeded in. Nor the fact of his humanitarian efforts. I do believe, that no matter what, he is a good person, underneath, and pray he get the treatment he needs, so he can start himself anew.

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  18. Michael Jackson was accused numerous times, paid off many accusers and even went to trial. A not guilty verdict doesn't mean vindication as OJ can attest. It certainly affected how people felt about MJ, but it didn't ruin his career. He was planning a national tour that was already sold out when he died. Anyone being honest with themselves knows that at least some of these allegations had merit (why else pay them off?), it's pretty apparent he was attracted to young boys, but personally I still enjoy his music. The short attention span of the public means that Kevin can possibly make a comeback in a few years, talent is a scarce commodity and he has it. People often forget these people are entertainers; an act, an attraction, they are seldom what we perceive them to be.

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    1. Right now its good that he's far away from the spotlight and living privately and quietly. Anyone that's been "accused" shouldn't come back as the public pitchfork & torch mob is still in full attack mode. But if the criminal investigations come up with nothing, he could possibly come back in a few years. But that's ONLY if HE wants to come back. He maybe happily retired in a few years and may not want to be bothered with the business any longer.

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  19. Pam. As someone who grew up in a world, where Kevin was a national treasure, I will look back on his films and shows, as accomplishments. I understand, that for some people, it will be awkward seeing him on screen, but I will never deny what he succeeded in. Nor the fact of his humanitarian efforts. I do believe, that no matter what, he is a good person, underneath, and pray he get the treatment he needs, so he can start himself anew.

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    1. This is the third time you've left this same comment.

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  20. Found this story:

    When I met Kevin Spacey in the 90’s it was at a restaurant. He was defending a young woman/server who had been harassed and then stiffed by a patron. The moment was exquisitely kind. We all carry a lot of light and a lot of darkness. Jung’s shadow self. Everyone has a split.

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  21. The recent allegations towards Morgan Freeman bought me back here. I was shocked and heartbroken. But I still like both guys. I just can't ignore their carers, and what they accomplished. I don’t feel the least bit guilty for liking Kevin. I have my reasons. I don’t think you need to explain, defend, or apologize for being a fan of someone. Regarding Morgan, I just can’t get riled up over inappropriate ogling. Is it okay? Of course not. Sometimes people live in a privileged bubble where they don’t understand or care that they can’t just say or do whatever they want. So, now they are being set straight. If someone is truly sorry, makes amends, and stops the behavior - life goes on. It’s in some people’s nature to be aggressive sexually, and some push boundries. But that doesn’t make them monsters without any redeeming qualities. Let’s learn and move forward.

    I save my outrage for actual victims of assault or rape.

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  22. The recent allegations towards Morgan Freeman bought me back here. I was shocked and heartbroken. But I still like both guys. I just can't ignore their carers, and what they accomplished.

    You know what? I don’t feel the least bit guilty for liking Kevin. I have my reasons. I don’t think you need to explain, defend, or apologize for being a fan of someone. Regarding Morgan, I just can’t get riled up over inappropriate ogling. Is it okay? Of course not. Sometimes people live in a privileged bubble where they don’t understand or care that they can’t just say or do whatever they want. So, now they are being set straight. If someone is truly sorry, makes amends, and stops the behavior - life goes on. It’s in some people’s nature to be aggressive sexually, and some push boundries. But that doesn’t make them monsters without any redeeming qualities. Let’s learn and move forward.

    I save my outrage for actual victims of assault or rape.

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    1. I saw clips of two separate interviews Morgan Freeman gave where the female journalists accused him of making comments that made them uncomfortable...and I honestly think in both cases the women overreacted. In one of them Freeman's comment appeared to be in response to a story Michael Caine had just finished telling when they were promoting "Going In Style", not the female reporter. I think we need to be VERY careful in automatically assuming guilt in every single allegation in the me too movement. It seems some people no longer know the difference between sexual harassment and giving a harmless compliment.

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  23. Pam, I don't know if I uploaded or not, but I will re-upload it again, just in case. I found this story:

    When I met Kevin Spacey in the 90’s it was at a restaurant. He was defending a young woman/server who had been harassed and then stiffed by a patron. The moment was exquisitely kind. We all carry a lot of light and a lot of darkness. Jung’s shadow self. Everyone has a split.

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    1. WHAT DOES THE WORD “STIFFED” MEAN?

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    2. When someone refuses to pay for a service.

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  24. Just found this blog. Nice to see some more Spacey fans still out there. I've come to terms with his misconduct - he has to take responsibility for what he did - but I also understand that this type of behavior was "normal" in the entertainment business, which says a lot about that industry. But I can't just write him off like many other people have. I still believe he is one of the most talented actors of this generation & his absence creates a void in television & movies. Unfortunately he probably won't come back as the environment is too hostile to anyone who has even been accused. But I hope he's finding a new light in his life & I pray that better days are ahead for him.

    P.S. I'd miss him dearly on the TV/movie screens, but it wouldn't pain me that he doesn't come back. Too much mediocrity is being awarded in entertainment these days. Also the identity politics, victim culture & celebrity "activism" have taken the pleasure out of entertainment.

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  25. I prefer to remember the days Kevin was a popular figure in the public's eyes. Due to what happened last year, I am in danger of losing those memories. I don't want to lose them.

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  26. He's going to be back on the big screen...The Billionaire Boys Club premieres in July, and Spacey is in the trailer. The production company says it's only fair that all actors involved in the shoot have the right to have their performances seen. A gutsy move...but perhaps a sign Kevin is planning a comeback.

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  27. I just watched American Beauty for the first time. I related to Kevin's final quote at the end of the film.

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  28. Kevin Spacey will not be prosecuted over an accusation of sexual assault that allegedly took place in 1992. One down, forty to go.

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  29. I agree with what Rapp has said recently. Here is the quote in it’s entire context, as well as link to the BuzzFeed article if people would like to read it: [excerpt]

    [ I asked Rapp what he made of Spacey’s total disappearance. This seemed to catch him a bit off guard. He looked away, and his voice dropped to just above a whisper, as he struggled to talk through his feelings.

    “I genuinely, I don’t know, as a fellow human being, I hope he can find some kind of way to have some kind of — I don’t know what it would be, but some way to make himself whole, you know?”

    I told Rapp that was incredibly generous for him to say.

    “I really mean that,” he replied. “I don’t think anyone behaves the way he behaved for so long…” He trailed off, and his voice got even quieter. “I don’t think he was happy. He had demons. And so, on a certain level, I can have some compassion for that.”

    He paused again, his eyes searching. “But at the same time, every human being has some form of a demon, and the question is can you wrestle with them enough so you don’t hurt other people.”]

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