In what appears to be a comeback attempt, former House of Cards star Kevin Spacey shares a dumbfounding video, following a new sexual assault charge filed today. Spacey personified Frank Underwood, the remorselessly devious politician he played on the show for five seasons, opposite Robin Wright. Following sexual assault allegations surfacing in 2017, Netflix fired Spacey from House of Cards, and Wright took over the lead role for the show's final season. His career has since been in free fall, with Ridley Scott's All The Money In The World reshooting all of Spacey's scenes, replacing him with Christopher Plummer, in 2017; his 2018 film Billionaire Boys Club reportedly earned the lowest box office returns of the actor's career.
Allegations against Spacey began in October 2017, when Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery) came forward with claims that Spacey attempted to the initiate a sexual encounter with him when he 14. Spacey issued a response to Rapp through social media, although he denied any recollection of the incident, and came out as gay in the same post. He was widely criticized for what many felt was an attempt to distract from Rapp's accusations by publically coming out. Since then, more than a dozen men have come forward to disclose incidents in which Spacey, frequently described as inebriated, groped, exposed himself, or repeatedly tried to initiate sex without consent. Spacey's video comes shortly after charges from one of his accusers were confirmed to be going to court.
Former Boston Globe anchor Heather Unruh said in a press conference last year that Spacey gave alcohol to and sexually assaulted her then 18-year-old son in 2016. Charges for the incident were confirmed to be filed today by The Boston Globe, after which Spacey, apparently in response, posted the unnerving video as his House of Card character. In a festive Christmas apron, he states: "I know what you want. Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful. After all, we shared everything, you and I. I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of. I shocked you with my honestly, but mostly I challenged you and made you think. And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn't. So we're not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back." The full video can be viewed below:
The video is the first post to his Twitter account since his address to Rapp's allegations in October 2017. Spacey suggests that he's been judged without due process, his House of Cards character was unsatisfyingly killed off, that he doesn't believe he'll be criminally charged, in Unruh's case, or any others against him:
"But you wouldn’t believe the worst without evidence would you? You wouldn’t rush to judgements without facts. Would you? Did you? No, not you. You’re smarter than that. All this presumption made for such an unsatisfying ending, and to think it could have been such a memorable sendoff. I mean if you and I have learned nothing else these past years, it’s that in life and art, nothing should be off the table. We weren’t afraid of what we said and what we did, and we’re still not afraid. I can promise you this. If I didn't pay the price for the things we both know I did do, I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn't do."
Given that this is Spacey's first public response to the accusations against him, his blatant disambiguation between himself and his fictional alter ego is perhaps what's most disturbing. It's not just Frank Underwood's trademark, menacing, fourth-wall-breaking soliloquies he's channelling, it's the character's full-bodied narcissism and sense of infallibility. He seems to go so far as to try to shift the blame to whoever is being addressed in the video, by saying, "of course they’re going to say I’m being disrespectful, not playing by the rules. Like I ever played by anyone’s rules before. I never did. And you loved it." - an extraordinarily tactless response to his accusers, and sexual assault survivors everywhere.
In addition to Spacey, charges appear to be sticking to Harvey Weinstein's criminal case, which moved forward last week. Meanwhile, Eliza Dushku's op-ed about sexual harassment on the set of Bull garnered widespread support, showing that the #MeToo movement continues to create a space in which victims of sexual violence can feel safer coming forward with their stories.