News Round-Up: September 10, 2020

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (screen capture via HBO Sports)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Daily Beast: A Russian social media dissident was captured in Chechnya and forced to sit on a glass bottle as an act of apology to Putin’s favorite enforcer, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (above).

OUT: Jussie Smollett in a recent Instagram Live chat, “From the very, very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.” The gay Empire actor was referencing his January 2019 claim that two men attacked him near his Chicago apartment while spewing racist and homophobic slurs, physically assaulting him, and hanging a noose around his neck. The police alleged it was a false report.

Edge Media: Actor Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery, Rent) and an anonymous accuser have filed a civil lawsuit in New York State court Manhattan against Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey for alleged sexual assaults in the 1980s.

Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (screen capture via YouTube)

NY Daily News: The Trump administration has secretly siphoned nearly $4 million away from a program that tracks and treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11 related illnesses. The Treasury Department mysteriously started withholding parts of payments — nearly four years ago — meant to cover medical services for to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics treated by the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program.

The Advocate: Donald Trump has unveiled a new shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, and it includes such anti-LGBTQ+ types as Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley as well as the lawyer who defended the Defense of Marriage Act.

Washington Blade: The venerable LGBTQ news outlet has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. “There’s no reason for any informed American voter to grant Trump another four years. There’s even less reason for LGBTQ voters to support him, no matter what the hypocrites at Log Cabin tell you.”

Election 2020: A new campaign ad from Joe Biden hits Donald Trump over the revelations Trump knew the severity of the coronavirus for months while telling the American people “it’s like the flu.”

Anthony Rapp’s First Interview Since Kevin Spacey Bombshell

Anthony Rapp

Out actor Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery) made his first TV interview appearance on The Talk this week since making his bombshell accusation that he was sexually assaulted by Kevin Spacey at the age of 14.

Addressing the controversy, Rapp said:

“I couldn’t really talk about this aspect of it in the story itself, because I could only tell my story, but I knew that there were more stories,” says Rapp about the impact of his story. “So I was just hopeful that coming forward, it would encourage other people to tell the truth.”

“I knew that it was a risky thing,” Rapp continues. “I knew that he was very popular, and certainly a respected actor, but at the same time, I knew that I was trying to protect people. And I was incredibly gratified by the enormous wave of support.”

Rapp also opened up on what it meant to him to be the first openly gay character in a Star Trek series and to share the first same-sex kiss in Trek history.

News Round-Up: December 2, 2017

Some news items you might have missed:

• Woofy Alex Abramov (above) says, “Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach this weekend.” You gotta admit, Alex wears the beach very, very well 🙂

• Analysis by Newsweek shows the current tax bill in the Senate would devastate support systems and services for LGBT Americans.

• Uri Kokia has come out as gay making him the first professional basketball player to come out as gay in Israel. In an interview, Kokia said, “I want to show you can make a long and glorious career as a gay man.”

• A father in Mills, Wyoming, is accused of attacking his 15-year-old gay son with a knife because the father disapproved of homosexuality.

• Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas, who prides himself as a “family values” politician used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment case to the tune of $84,000. Farenthold had told his former communications director he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her.

• In related news, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina reportedly used $150,000 in taxpayer money to settle a veteran-discrimination and retaliation claim with a former aide.

• Anthony Rapp has received a lot of social media attacks after telling his story of sexual misconduct by Kevin Spacey 30 years ago when Rapp was 14. Rather than fight back, Rapp decided to share them all with the world.

• Check out this touching holiday video featuring uber-cute pooch, Chobo.

Netflix Suspends Production On Final Season Of HOUSE OF CARDS

Deadline is reporting that Netflix has hit pause on filming the final season of hit series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey in the aftermath of Anthony Rapp’s allegations of unwanted sexual advances made by Spacey when Rapp was 14-years-old.

Filming on the upcoming sixth and final season of Netflix’s Washington D.C.-set drama House of Cards has been suspended indefinitely. Cast and crew of the MRC-produced series were told of the shutdown this morning.

“MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on House of Cards season six, until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew,” the two companies said in a joint statement to Deadline.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Netflix announced that House of Cards will end with its upcoming sixth season as allegations of unwanted sexual advances in 1986 by HoC star Kevin Spacey against then-14-year-old Anthony Rapp had emerged.

Netflix says the decision to make season 6 the last season of the series was made months ago.

There are rumors of a possible spin-off series starring one of the other lead actors.

Anthony Rapp: Kevin Spacey Made Sexual Advance Towards Me At Age 14

Kevin Spacey (L) Anthony Rapp (R)

Anthony Rapp, star of Broadway’s RENT and currently CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery, has shared a decades-old story alleging actor Kevin Spacey once tried to seduce Rapp when he was 14 years old.

The two actors were both appearing on Broadway at the time, Spacey in Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Rapp in Precious Sons.

Spacey, 26 years old at the time, had met Rapp at several post-show celebrations as the awards season had begun and invited Rapp to a party at his home.

Rapp went to the party alone, but upon realizing no other people his age were in attendance, found himself alone watching TV in a bedroom.

Buzzfeed has the following account from Rapp:

At some point, Rapp said he turned to see Spacey standing at the bedroom door. And that’s when he first realized that everyone else had left the party. They were alone.

“My memory was that I thought, Oh, everybody’s gone. Well, yeah, I should probably go home,” Rapp said. Spacey, he recalled, “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.” Rapp doesn’t remember Spacey saying anything to him. Instead, Rapp said, “He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”

“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp said. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

Rapp recalled this all happening — Spacey appearing at the door, coming into the room, picking him up, and putting him on the bed — in one clumsy action, with Spacey landing at a slight angle on top of him. He said Spacey “was, like, pressing into me,” and that he remembers Spacey “tightening his arms.” But while he can’t recall exactly how long Spacey remained on top of him, Rapp said he was able to “squirm” away after a short period.

“It was a frozen moment,” Rapp said of the entire encounter, with a deep, exasperated sigh. “In terms of fight or flight or freeze, I tend to freeze.”

After pushing Spacey off him, Rapp remembered he was able to step into the bathroom and close the door. “I was like, ‘What is happening?’” he said. “I saw on the counter next to the sink a picture of him having his arm around a man. So I think on some level I was like, Oh. He’s gay. I guess. Then I opened the door, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go home now.’ He followed me to the front door of the apartment, and as I opened the door to leave, he was leaning on the front door[frame]. And he was like, ‘Are you sure you wanna go?’ I said, ‘Yes, good night,’ and then I did leave.”

As he walked home, “My head was spinning,” Rapp said. “I have a memory of turning around and [thinking], What was that? What am I supposed to do with it? What does it mean?”

Rapp says in light of the recent sexual harassment allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein, he felt emboldened to speak up about his experience years ago.

Some hours later, Spacey responded to the allegation via Twitter wherein he said he didn’t recall the encounter but apologized to Rapp. In the same message, Spacey, who has long danced around gay rumors, picked this as the time to come out.

“But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” Spacey wrote.

“This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are other stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy,” he continued. He also acknowledged for the first time publicly that “I now choose to live as a gay man.”

The Twitterverse found it beyond contempt that Spacey would attempt to conflate the story by coming out: