At New York Public Library’s Literary Lions Gala on Tuesday night, prolific ― and sometimes problematic ― veteran journalist Gay Talese made some controversial statements about recent allegations of sexual harassment against Kevin Spacey.
When asked by Vanity Fair at the event whom he would most like to profile, Talese said that it would be Spacey. And while it’s not inherently wrong to profile complex and even predatory public figures, his reason for wanting to do so was troubling.
“I would like to ask [Spacey] how it feels to lose a lifetime of success and hard work all because of 10 minutes of indiscretion 10 years or more ago,” Talese said.
The “indiscretion” Talese referred to was the accusation made by actor Anthony Rapp last week. According to Rapp, Spacey made a sexual advance toward him in 1986 when Rapp was just 14 years old ― and Spacey was 26.
“I feel so sad, and I hate that actor that ruined this guy’s career,” Talese said of Rapp. “So, OK, it happened 10 years ago ... Jesus, suck it up once in a while!”
Not only are Talese’s comments disrespectful to survivors of sexual trauma, he also failed to acknowledge that there are actually many other allegations against Spacey, and they occurred over decades, proving a pattern of abuse and predation rather than a quick 10-minute “indiscretion.”
He also went on to say that “all of us” have done something worth being ashamed of.
“You know something, all of us in this room at one time or another did something we’re ashamed of,” he said. “The Dalai Lama has done something he’s ashamed of. The Dalai Lama should confess ... put that in your magazine!”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.