In a deeply confusing gesture, Kevin Spacey has met in Cancun with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, taking to social media to praise Peña Nieto’s “progress” during his first year in office.
While it may seem that Spacey was merely doing research for his universally acclaimed role as U.S. President and Machiavellian power-monger Frank Underwood on the Netflix original series, House of Cards, Peña Nieto’s reputation as a bumbling, inarticulate pretty-boy doesn’t quite match up to the calculation and astuteness of Spacey’s Underwood.
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) May 7, 2014
On the other hand, one could imagine a natural attraction between Underwood and a president many view as a pushover and lackey for the powerful institutional forces that gamed Mexican politics for the better part of the last century. Peña Nieto was in the state of Yucatán to inaugurate the 2014 Tianguis Turístico in the Hotel Nizuc Resort & Spa. It is unclear exactly what Spacey was doing in the resort city or how he ended up snapping buddy-pics with the president.
You might be wondering why we think EPN is a douche. Here are a couple reasons.
1. He wants to censor the internet.
2. When he was governor of the State of Mexico he ordered a police raid to end protests happening in Atenco (a farming town outside Mexico City). As a result, two people died, hundreds were injured and imprisoned and several allegations surfaced later of police sexually abusing both men and women. EPN went on TV afterward saying that what was important was that peace was restored.
3. Alfonso Cuaron, director of Gravity and the first Mexican to win a Best Director Oscar, is not a fan either. In an open letter to the president, he asked some pointed questions about the controversial energy reform bill EPN is trying to pass.
Forbes explains: In his “10 Questions to President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto from Mexican Citizen Alfonso Cuarón”, as the letter is titled, the filmmaker explains why he decided to write the president: In a TV interview in February, Peña Nieto said that Cuarón’s opposition to the energy reform was the result of disinformation or lack of information. “If I am not sufficiently informed, it is because the government you lead has not shared with me—with all of us Mexicans—crucial elements that are necessary for us to understand ‘the extent and significance of these reforms,’ he replied.
In EPN’s defense, he did write back to Cuaron but most internet pundits seem to agree that, “The official response to this question is vague and, especially, weak. Nothing is concrete in the governmental response. The bureaucratic language evades, it doesn’t confront.”
In general, the internet is pretty much unanimous in its contempt for the guy.
— Dorian (@DorianGray_75) May 6, 2014
Update: The next day Kevin Spacey tweeted that it was all a joke.
I guess nobody got the joke. I was in character as Francis Underwood in House of Cards, not myself! I don’t know jack about Mexican politics — Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) May 8, 2014
Sure Kevin, we believe you. [sarcasm font]