Life, Journalism, and Kevin Spacey
Last month, the article I spent almost a year working on went live. The IO Magazine published, What’s So Special About Kevin Spacey on June 10, 2021, and it has been quite an interesting ride since.
I began shopping the piece for publication beginning in late spring. On numerous occasions, my initial query was met with positive feedback. Section editors were often in favor of the piece, but as the idea of publishing an article questioning what went on surrounding the whole Kevin Spacey/ Anthony Rapp media maelstrom rose through the ranks, one by one, the publications ultimately passed.
Most editors commented that while they liked the controversial long-read for their section, their bosses were not up for the challenge, often saying, “we can’t run this narrative.” I can’t tell you how many editors ultimately declined my piece, though not before asking if I was up for writing something less favorable about the House of Cards actor–they had money in their budget for that.
Around the time I was shopping my article to editors, The Hollywood Reporter ran an article on Kevin Spacey questioning whether the disgraced actor would ever work again. In it, they detailed wild antics during arbitration with The Hollywood Reporter owner, Media Rights Capital–who also just happens to be Spacey’s former employer. The Hollywood Reporter isn’t a tabloid; with paid circulation of roughly 70,000 it’s the largest entertainment industry trade publication on the market today. Industry insiders write it for industry professionals–and that’s what I found most arresting.
The Hollywood Reporter article, which carries a heavy slant against the actor, essentially declares Kevin Spacey unemployable. As I read, I kept wondering if they would have maintained their strong stand against Spacey if they weren’t owned by someone currently suing him. Conflict of interest, anyone? But this, I believe, is the current carcinogenic status quo of the media world.
I finally found a place for my piece in a fledgling publication that wasn’t afraid of a little controversy. The story went live. I wasn’t sure what would follow.
But something I definitely didn’t expect was an overwhelmingly positive response.
To date, my article “What’s So Special About Kevin Spacey,” has been read by almost 1M readers (and gaining daily). It has garnered praise from award-winning celebrities such as Robert Davi and Hollywood royalty Chris Lemmon (son of Academy Award Winner Jack Lemmon). And Aldo Scrofani, Adjunct Professor at New York University, CEO of the Apollo Foundation, and former COO and Producer at Columbia Artists, called the piece “well-written and well-done.”
Countless actors, entertainers, writers, PA’s, stage managers, etc., have reached out, in addition to reporters, editors, etc., all applauding its value and integrity, many calling it “long overdue.” And Michael Penn (President at Shingetsu News Agency and Executive Editor of AGB Nippon) called it a “careful, judicious, and even courageous piece of journalism.”
Even critics, who may disagree with my interpretation of events, consider it “well-written,” “fair and balanced,” and “exhaustively researched.” And yet, the fourth estate had no room for the inquiry. Thank Gawd for the fifth estate.
Time For Reflection
I remember a time when a journalist couldn’t write about anyone they had a previous or current relationship with—and writing about a news event from your employer’s perspective? That wasn’t even a consideration if you wanted to be taken seriously.
When I first graduated from journalism, green and still idealistic, I actually believed in the “power of the press.” I considered it a responsibility. I took it seriously.
That, apparently, was my problem.
My life has swum through the entertainment industry waters for almost five decades. Whether I liked it or not, “Celebrity” was my milieu. I have been a first-hand witness to the highs and lows of “famous” people and international projects. During that time, I have seen scandals, ascents, declines, assaults, blessings, abhorrent behavior, moments of grace, perfection, and utter stupidity, both private and public. And I have also observed the reactions to these events by peers, non-peers, and the press alike.
I began my career as a performer, but when my voice proved unreliable, I long ago decided to step away from the limelight and instead use whatever skills I had to relay the truth, as I saw it, through fiction or journalism.
But over the years, as far as journalism is concerned, I found myself mired in marketing directives that bled into news stories. Other editors had no problem knowingly perpetuating a lie, so long as it fit their brand narrative and they could blame someone else for the slip.
So, I elected to ghostwrite for prominent publications and notable names. Arguing someone else’s point allowed me to placate myself, pretending that I wasn’t directly contributing to the cacophony or selling out my ideals. But, unfortunately, that’s not enough anymore.
A recent health issue forced me to scale back from work, giving me time for much-needed contemplation–and I had a lot to consider. In the weeks that followed The IO Magazine article publication, I slowly began sifting through countless emails, comments, messages, and texts, trying to respond to all of them, but I couldn’t keep up. I opted for this blog post instead (although I’ll address a few common/ comical questions at the bottom of this post).
So, You Say You Want To Work With Kevin Spacey
The one comment I keep getting, however, from industry professionals is one of regret. I’ve heard from actors, writers, directors, and others who say they’d love to work with Kevin Spacey but “can’t.” There’s that word again, “can’t.”
Why “can’t” they? They’re afraid of what other people might say or think.
To those souls who keep using my email inbox as some sort of Kevin Spacey confessional, I have one thing to say: grow a pair.
Remember when you first wanted to make movies? Write plays? Create magic? Remember when you promised yourself that you’d never sell out? When you said you were going to change the way this business works and that no one was ever going to tell you how to make a movie? Or produce a play?
You can be that person again. It’s easy.
If you want to work with Kevin Spacey, hire him. If you don’t, don’t.
But whatever you do, don’t let peer pressure dictate the way you create your art. This isn’t high school.
Will you lose some friends and associates? Yes. I did. But the ones you’ll find to replace them–the ones in the wings just waiting for you to say what they’ve been afraid to say all along–are so worth it.
And that leads me to my final point.
Good-Bye Yellow Brick Road
Beginning August 1, 2021, I’m taking a year-long sabbatical from journalism–with a very large question mark over whether I’ll return to the hustle of daily deadlines or time-sensitive news hooks.
When industry trades present office chatter as gospel, and editors allow trends to dictate the news cycle, it’s time to let the next generation of writers do what I will not.
So, what will I do? I’m not entirely sure yet. I have an unfinished play that needs resuscitating, several shorts that deserve love and attention, and I have to gain about 20 pounds to officially be healthy again, but I have no ideas or plans beyond that. And for the first time in my life, that’s just fine and dandy.
When I initially went to my husband and told him I was planning on writing a piece about Kevin Spacey almost four years ago, I had no idea how much my life would change–for the better. I’ve never been prouder of anything that I’ve ever worked on in my professional life and can’t think of a better note to close the show on.
So, as the wise man once said, “And that’s the way it is.“
Frequently Asked Questions
Things I don’t know:
- Where the last Kevin Spacey video was shot
- What Kevin Spacey’s net worth is, whether he is bankrupt, or “still rich?”
Where is Kevin Spacey now?
- Italy maybe? He was shooting Franco Nero’s film there the last time I checked.
Are you Kevin Spacey’s wife?
- No, I’m not. And according to industry insiders, I’m not his type. (A source who is familiar with the actor’s dating habits has suggested that he prefers brunettes.)