Kevin Spacey appeared in Nantucket court today to plead not guilty to the charges claiming he groped an 18-year-old in July 2016.
A two-time Academy Award winner and once beloved actor, Kevin Spacey’s career imploded in late 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery) came forward with accusations that Spacey made sexual advances towards the then 14-year-old Rapp (Spacey was 26 at the time). Spacey claimed not to remember the incident, but offered an apology and also chose that moment to come out as gay – a move many saw as a desperate attempt to distract from the serious claims against him. Since then, more than a dozen men have come forward with similar stories of an often-inebriated Spacey groping them, exposing himself or attempting to initiate sex without consent.
As reported by CNN, in the summer of 2016 Spacey met the alleged victim at a bar where the young man worked as a busboy. After he finished his shift, Spacey bought the man drinks and then began touching him inappropriately and without consent. The young man filmed a portion of this incident and sent the video via Snapchat to his girlfriend. Though the man told his friends and family about the incident at the time, he did not report it to the police until more than a year later. Spacey faces a charge indecent assault and battery – a felony that could result in up to five years in prison.
Though not the only open case against the disgraced actor, the Nantucket incident first came to light more than a year ago when the busboy’s mother, former TV news anchor Heather Unruh, went public with her son’s allegations. When the charges related to the incident were filed on December 24, 2018 Spacey responded with the strangest Christmas gift of all – a three-minute video seemingly in character as House of Cards’ Frank Underwood wherein it appears he addresses the actual allegations against him.
It’s difficult to determine the true intention or expected outcome from the video, but many saw it as a comeback attempt after Spacey’s career has collapsed under the weight of these allegations. Not only was he fired from his career-highlight role in House of Cards, his part in All the Money in the World, which was due out mere weeks after the initial allegations, was recast and portions reshot to keep his performance out of the finished film. His latest film, and the first to be released since these claims were made public, opened in only 10 theaters nationwide.
The #MeToo Movement revealed truths about many once-powerful men in Hollywood, but Kevin Spacey stands as one of the few to actually have allegations translated into criminal charges. However, he is not alone in believing his penance has been served and the time is ripe for a comeback. Earlier this summer Louis C.K. took steps to restart his career by showing up for un-announced standup sets. His comedy was generally better received than Spacey’s bizarre video, but a little more than a year into this “new” Hollywood, it still remains to be seen how much accountability these men will be held to both professionally and legally.