Following the release of what is likely to be Kevin Spacey’s final role in the entertainment industry, Billionaire Boys Club, a mere amalgamation of Wolf on Wall Street and pretty much any other film denoting the corruption within Wall Street, procured a mere $618 in revenue across eleven US theatres on opening weekend.
The laughable showing at box office aside, many are left puzzled by the decision to release the film, given the actor has 30 alleged accounts of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault against him.
The rationale behind this controversial decision? Vertical Entertainment explained in a released statement nearly two months prior, stating “We hope these distressing allegations pertaining to one person’s behaviour—that were not publicly known when the film was made almost two and a half years ago and from someone who has a small, supporting role in Billionaire Boys Club—do not tarnish the release of the film.”
Unfortunately, that was the wrong call.
Following the initial whiffs of sexual misconduct on the part of Spacey in 2017, Netflix had faced a similar, costlier decision that saw them incur a loss of $39-million in its fourth-quarter earnings with their icing of the Gore Vidal biopic and the filming of House of Cards’ sixth and final season.
Though Vertical Entertainment did not make a similar decision by Netflix, their questionable handling of the PR crisis should not be considered as a refusal to stand in solitude with alleged victims of sexual assault. Instead, it should be seen as “neither an easy nor an insensitive decision” that held some merit to it, but ultimately fell flat amidst the lobbying of movements such as #metoo and #timesup.
Therefore, this begs the question: do I believe releasing the film was a mistake? Yes, but it should not constitute grounds for future boycotts of the independent film distributor and production agency unless a pattern of abuses were to persist involving its employees or on its sets.
However, no such incidences have arisen as it pertains to the ill-famed Spacey, or with anyone for that matter.
Throughout his career, Spacey has made his bread and butter through his ability to move audiences with his riveting performances on the big screen; however, that means very little now, given the incredible suffering his alleged victims have incurred over the years.
From celebrity-status to notoriety, Kevin Spacey will forever go down as one of the many alleged sexual predators that brought shame and dishonour to Hollywood. That is an irrefutable fact. No debate there.
Thankfully, Billionaire Boys Club was a film that many have rightfully steered clear of—a poignant symbol of our stand against the ‘rape culture’ that is on its final legs within the elitist realm of West Hollywood.
A reality we hope manifests itself truly, rather than hypocritically, as it does now.