In the year since the assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein's changed the national conversation about sexual misconduct, we’ve watched Hollywood’s biggest names lose their credibility and careers as women and men bravely came forward to name their accusers and fight against the toxic culture of sexual power in the industry.
While the #MeToo movement was largely focused on cisgender, heterosexual men, that changed when Kevin Spacey was accused by multiple men of sexual misconduct and assault, leading to his firing from House of Cards and swift removal from All the Money in the World. While Spacey tried to bury the accusations against him by finally coming out after years as Hollywood’s most notorious closet case, the jig was up.
But according to actor Taron Egerton, these crimes boil down to nothing more than Spacey’s being an “audacious flirt.” Egerton, the star of both the new Robin Hood film and the Elton John biopic Rocketman, doesn’t think Spacey’s predatory behavior would have been a challenge — for him.
“If I had been the subject of his advances, I don’t think that would have been the greatest challenge to deal with,” Egerton told Radio Times. “I don’t think I would have felt rocked to the core by it. It’s weird because he and I had stayed in touch, he had asked me to socialize. When it all kicked off, I don’t think I was particularly surprised by it. It’s such a tricky, complicated, and weird thing, it’s almost Greek [tragedy], isn’t it?”
Egerton and Spacey co-starred in Billionaire Boys Club, which reportedly only made $126 on its opening day, and this isn’t the first instance of an actor defending their co-star: during the press tour for Arrested Development’s fifth season, Jason Bateman defended Jeffrey Tambor at the expense of Jessica Walter, though he later apologized. And let’s not forget everyone who has defended Woody Allen over the years; Javier Bardem recently called the director a “genius” and said he would “would work with him tomorrow,” claiming that “public accusations are very dangerous. If some day there is a trial and it’s proven to be true, I would change my opinion, but at this moment, nothing has changed.”
Egerton continued: “He’s just gone now. Gone. We live in the age of the internet maelstrom and one tweet from an anonymous person can bring down a career.” Spacey’s firing from House of Cards or Billionaire Boys Club’s abysmal box office sales were not a result of “one tweet,” but rather multiple men accusing him of sexual assault, some of whom were underage at the time.
Egerton’s doesn’t think he would have been rocked by Spacey’s “advances,” because his position of privilege as a white, cisgender male movie star allows him to disregard the trauma and fear of assault survivors. It’s unclear what, exactly, about Spacey being accused of sexually assaulting underage men is a Greek tragedy — except, possibly, that men in Hollywood insist on keeping abusive men in power, which is quite tragic.