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Gabriella Ferrigine

Stars push for Kevin Spacey's return

A spate of A-list public figures recently have advocated for Kevin Spacey's return to the movie industry.

Liam Neeson, Sharon Stone, F. Murray Abraham and Stephen Fry all stated their support for the former "House of Cards" actor, who has faced a series of sexual assault allegations made by numerous men. In 2017, during the height of the #MeToo movement, actor and Broadway performer Anthony Rapp told Buzzfeed that Spacey had assaulted him during a party at his New York City apartment in 1986 when Rapp was only 14 years old. Spacey at the time took to X/Twitter to issue the "sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior," asserting that he had no recollection of the incident. He also used the post as an opportunity to officially and publicly come out as gay, a move that was harshly condemned by many people inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community. 

Rapp's claims led to more than a dozen subsequent allegations, culminating in Spacey being charged with four counts of sexual assault against three men. A British jury in July 2023 ruled that he was not guilty of the assaults, which Spacey's accusers reported took place between 2001 and 2013. The two-time Academy Award winner was also involved in a $40 million sexual battery lawsuit with Rapp, for which a New York jury sided with Spacey, determining that he was not guilty in October 2022.

Now, speaking to The Telegraph, multiple stars have defended the "American Beauty" actor, arguing in favor of his reinstatement in Hollywood. 

“I was deeply saddened to learn of these accusations against him. Kevin is a good man and a man of character,” Neeson told the outlet, per Entertainment Weekly. “He’s sensitive, articulate and non-judgmental, with a terrific sense of humor. He is also one of our finest artists in the theatre and on camera. Personally speaking, our industry needs him and misses him greatly.”

Stone said that she “can’t wait to see Kevin back at work,” adding that “He is a genius. He is so elegant and fun, generous to a fault and knows more about our craft than most of us ever will. 

"It’s terrible that they are blaming him for not being able to come to terms with themselves for using him and negotiating with themselves because they didn’t get their secret agendas,” she continued.

The stars' vocal support for Spacey follows the revelation of new allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct in "Spacey Unmasked," a two-part documentary from British network Channel 4 that was released stateside on Max on May 13. According to Vulture, the documentary includes the following statement from Spacey: “I have consistently denied — and now successfully defended — numerous allegations made both in the US and UK, both criminal and civil, and each time have been able to source evidence undermining the allegations and have been believed by a jury of my peers.” 

On May 2, Spacey wrote on X/Twitter that he had “repeatedly requested that @Channel4 afford me more than 7 days to respond to allegations made against me dating back 48 years and provide me with sufficient details to investigate these matters. Channel 4 has refused on the basis that they feel that asking for a response in 7 days to new, anonymized and non-specific allegations is a ‘fair opportunity’ for me to refute any allegations made against me.

“I will not sit back and be attacked by a dying network's one-sided ‘documentary’ about me in their desperate attempt for ratings,” Spacey continued. “There's a proper channel to handle allegations against me and it’s not Channel 4. Each time I have been given the time and a proper forum to defend myself, the allegations have failed under scrutiny and I have been exonerated.”

Fry in his statement to The Telegraph leveled criticism at “Spacey Unmasked” for trying to “bracket [Spacey] with the likes of Harvey Weinstein,” and “to continue to harass and hound him, to devote a whole documentary to accusations that simply do not add up to crimes . . . How can that be considered proportionate and justified?”

“Surely it is wrong to continue to batter a reputation on the strength of assertion and rhetoric rather than evidence and proof?” Fry asked. “Unless I’m missing something I think he has paid the price.”

Abraham, whom Entertainment Weekly noted was accused of sexual misconduct on the set of “Mythic Quest,” said, “I vouch for him [Spacey] unequivocally. Who are these vultures who attack a man who has publicly accepted his responsibility for certain behavior, unlike so many others? He is a fine man, I stand with him, and let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” 

Speaking to Chris Cuomo for a NewsNation interview on Thursday, Spacey said that he is “enormously pleased that my friends have stood up for me this past day, but quite frankly, they've been standing up for me for a long, long time,” as noted by The Hollywood Reporter.

The actor added that he is “so much happier today, living a more authentic and open life.

“Now, I want to prove that I’m a man of great character,” Spacey said. “I look forward to being able to prove to people that I am the merit of who I am as a human being.”

Spacey also told Cuomo that while he accepts “accountability,” that he will not “be accountable for things I didn’t do or that were exaggerated or greatly changed.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have all the people who’ve stepped up, and I know there’s going to be more coming soon,” Spacey said. “But there are also people that I’ve spoken to who, they love me, they believe in me. They’ve stood with me in private . . . but they’re afraid to stand up. And I’ve been very fortunate that people have been honest with me about that. And I think that’s a shame, that we’ve come to a place as a society where people are afraid to say what they believe and what they feel because they’re afraid they’re going to get canceled too.”

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