International TV Academy Revokes Kevin Spacey Honor Amid Sexual Assault Claim

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Kevin Spacey

The 'House of Cards' actor was meant to receive the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Monday that it will revoke a planned honor for House of Cards star Kevin Spacey following an allegation of sexual assault against him.

"The International Academy has announced today that in light of recent events it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award," the organization said in a statement. 

The news follows claims made by Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp, who told BuzzFeed on Sunday that Spacey tried to make a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was 14 years old. 

Rap told BuzzFeed that he met Spacey in 1986 when both actors were appearing in Broadway shows, and Rapp attended a party at Spacey’s apartment. Rapp continued to explain that Spacey picked him up "like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold" and proceeded to lay down on top of the 14-year-old actor. “He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp said. “I don't know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

Upon tweeting his apology, Spacey claimed that he did not remember the incident, but apologized for "inappropriate drunken behavior." He also added, to the outrage of GLAAD and several LGBTQ groups, that he is choosing "to live as a gay man." Several people in the LGBTQ community responded in anger at Spacey's "deflection" in coming out as a gay man in the same statement as an apology for sexual assault. 

The IATAS presents the International Emmy Awards, which are not to be confused with the Emmy Awards presented each September by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The former focuses on TV work produced outside of the U.S., excepting work done in a language other than English within the country.

The International Emmy Founders Award annually recognizes an individual whose creative accomplishments have contributed to the quality of global television production. Past recipients include Roone Arledge, David L. Wolper, Don Hewitt, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Dick Wolf, Ryan Murphy, Norman Lear, J.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes and, back in 1992, Bill Cosby.

This honor is believed to be the first, since the recent slew of sexual abuse claims in the entertainment industry began, that was awarded to someone prior to allegations being made against that person but was rescinded afterwards.

It remains to be determined if IATAS will announce a replacement honoree for 2017. 

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