Kevin Spacey slammed for using coming out to 'deflect' from Anthony Rapp sexual advance claim

Kevin Spacey is facing a fiery online backlash after being accused coming out as gay to "deflect" from allegations that he once made a sexual advance on a child. The House of Cards star has been widely condemned on social media after issuing a statement apologising following claims by actor Anthony Rapp that Spacey made a sexual advance on him at a party at his house in 1986, when Rapp was just 14. In his statement, Spacey claimed he did not remember the incident, before going on to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly for the first time. "I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man," the 58-year-old wrote. "I want to deal with this honestly and openly and for me that starts by examining my own behavior." The timing of the Spacey's announcement has been condemned as an attempt to deflect headlines away from Rapp's claim, while the implication that being gay as a "choice" that may have explained his behaviour has also been criticised by commentators.   Former Charmed star Rose McGowan, who was among the numerous women who have publicly made allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, was one of the first to tweet, writing: "Dear fellow media: Keep focus on #AnthonyRapp BE THE VICTIM'S VOICE. Help us level the playing field." The actress followed it up with a second tweet, reading: "Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it's your turn to cry, that's why we've gotta say goodbye." Meanwhile, comedian Billy Eichner wrote: "That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope." The American Horror Story: Cult star added: "Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out." Author and political commentator Owen Jones wrote: "Oh wow. Kevin Spacey deflecting from attempting to molest a child by coming out as gay is the absolute pits." Former Donald Trump campaign organiser Scott Presler wrote: "No, Kevin Spacey. You don't get to use your sexuality as a distraction from sexual assault. You just threw the gay community under the bus." Author and LGBT activist Dan Savage also slammed the apology, writing: "Nope to Kevin Spacey's statement. Nope. There's no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away assaulting a 14-year-old child." Meanwhile, actress Patricia Arquette thanked Rapp on Twitter for this courage in speaking out More stories: Review | Does Call Me By Your Name live up to the hype? Kevin Spacey comes out as gay as he apologises over claim he made sexual advance on 14-year-old