One of Spacey's Accusers killed himself the day after the video was released.
On Christmas Eve, disgraced (alleged) sexual predator and former actor Kevin Spacey released a new Holiday video on his Youtube channel.
In the video, titled "KTWK" (kill them with kindness), Spacey puts on the southern lilt of House of Cards' anti-hero Frank Underwood in a supposed plea for "more good in this world." The next day, one of his accusers—Ari Behn, 47—was found dead by suicide. If Spacey had known that one of the men whom he had (allegedly) assaulted was on the brink of taking his own life, would he have thought twice about releasing that video? Would he have felt any qualms about, once again, adopting the persona of the villainous President Underwood for a sequel to last year's notorious Christmas video?
In September, the anonymous massage therapist who alleged that Spacey had forced him to grab the actor's genitals died of cancer, and resulting in charges being dropped. Spacey and his legal team had vehemently denied the accusations, and now he was off the hook. What does it say then that Spacey opens his newest video, after stabbing wildly at the fire, with the claim, "It's been a pretty good year?"
In the case of Ari Behn—the author and former member of Norway's royal family who alleged that Spacey had groped him under the table at a Nobel Prize concert in 2007—it would be irresponsible to suggest that there was anything suspicious in his Christmas Day suicide. He had spoken openly about his struggles with loneliness and alcoholism—and his fear that he wouldn't live to see his three daughters grow up—but it seems like foolish optimism to imagine that he hadn't seen Spacey's newest video. And if his isolation and alcoholism were at all tied to the trauma of his encounter with Spacey, how painful would it be to see the man responsible putting on the act of a remorseless villain? How upsetting and surreal to hear the man who (allegedly) hurt you and so many others—yet continues to walk free—imploring his viewer with an ironic smile not to openly attack their enemies, but instead to "kill them with kindness."
The video closes on that ominous line, with a stock iMovie musical sting called "Suspense Accent 07," leaving no doubt as to the intended effect. But what, other than cruelty, could be the motivation?
The character of Frank Underwood on House of Cards—before Spacey was ousted, and Robin Wright took over as the show's lead—was a man who used his cunning, his power, and his connections to avoid facing consequences for numerous crimes. More than once he killed off someone who had become a liability, and he made their deaths look like suicide. Why would a man who maintains his innocence—in the face of more than 30 accusations of sexual assault and misconduct—continue to align himself with this character whose arc is defined by evading justice? At worst, Spacey is flaunting his untouchable status. At best…what? If we assume that even one of his accusers is telling the truth, then releasing a video in which he pretends to be an impervious villain—and alludes to killing his enemies—is a heartless and horrifying act.
In February of this year Spacey's older brother, Randy Fowler, publicly called on the actor to accept responsibility for his (alleged) crimes and "take his punishment." He also expressed concern that Spacey would not be able to handle his (alleged) predation being exposed, saying, "I'm worried about him committing suicide. But then you have to think, 'Nah he's too narcissistic, he probably wouldn't do that.'" If Fowler is right about Spacey's state of mind, then a true narcissist might follow the logic of the patron saint of narcissism—Ayn Rand—who famously said before her death, "I will not die, it's the world that will end." From that perspective, even 30 suicides would pale in comparison to the tragedy of erasing the narcissist himself. From that perspective, the more Spacey can do to taunt his (alleged) victims—to make them feel helpless and hopeless—without directly implicating himself, the better.
There are probably more charitable interpretations, but if Spacey leaves this video up after the tragic suicide of Ari Behn, he doesn't deserve even that small charity. He should, of course, own up to any and all of his crimes—if he is guilty, plead guilty and face the consequences of his actions. But if he is too in denial, or too much of a coward to do that, the least he can do is stop rubbing his freedom in the faces of his (alleged) victims and their families—in the faces of every survivor of sexual assault who would rather not be reminded that sexual predators so rarely face justice.
If he is going to keep espousing his innocence in the courtroom, the least he could do is stop playing a villain in these bizarre holiday videos. And if he won't delete this video, then he isn't playing a villain at all. People's lives are on the line.
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