Behind the scenes, I had long known Spacey was gay, or at least bisexual, in part because my friend Anthony Rapp had told me his story of a sexual pass Spacey made at him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was about 26. Rapp told me that in the mid 1990s, and we even printed his account of the encounter in The Advocate in 2001, with Spacey's name redacted, as BuzzFeed journalist Adam Vary reported in his thorough and eloquent report published Sunday night.
(Responding within minutes to the BuzzFeed publication, Spacey said he was "beyond horrified to hear (Rapp's) story." He did not deny it happened but said, "I honestly do not remember the encounter," nevertheless offering "the sincerest apology.")
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Unlike Esquire (in 1997), the gay and lesbian magazines for which I worked never outed Spacey. At Out magazine, we repeatedly told everyone that the name of the magazine was an adjective, not a verb. We did not out people, preferring to give them the time and space to make that decision themselves, a healthier route to honesty on both sides. We were happy to pave the way, and often did, starting with Rupert Everett's coming out interview on the cover of Out's second issue in 1992.
At The Advocate, I had the honor to do coming out interviews with many people, famous and not so famous, including an NFL football player (Esera Tuaolo), an "American Idol" finalist (Jim Verraros) and actors such as Robert Gant. My predecessor as The Advocate's editor in chief, Judy Wieder, interviewed many more, including George Michael and Rosie O'Donnell.
But as Wieder describes in her new memoir, "Random Events Tend to Cluster" (Lisa Hagan Books), The Advocate had developed a "no outing" policy before I joined the staff, and we stuck to it. We cajoled, befriended and pressured, but we did not report on anyone's sexuality without their cooperation. Just as each of us had reached the decision to come out in our own time, celebrities needed the same opportunity, even if it took them years and years.
– Bruce Steele, a former editor at Out magazine, in an op-ed published in The Citizen-Times that attempts to explain why they didn’t come forward with Rapp’s allegations in 2001.