Friday 18 October 2019

Old Vic: 20 claims of inappropriate behaviour against Kevin Spacey

The actor first had allegations lodged against him last month.

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey

By Lucy Mapstone

The Old Vic has said 20 people have claimed they were victims of “inappropriate behaviour” by Kevin Spacey, its former artistic director.

The London theatre released the conclusion following its investigation into allegations concerning the actor, who was in the role between 2004 and 2015, and has apologised.

It said in a statement: “Despite having the appropriate escalation processes in place, it was claimed that those affected felt unable to raise concerns and that Kevin Spacey operated without sufficient accountability.

“This is clearly unacceptable and The Old Vic truly apologises for not creating an environment or culture where people felt able to speak freely.”

The theatre engaged an external law firm to investigate claims made against Spacey, and has concluded that, with the exception of one of the claims, none of the reported incidents were raised either formally or informally with management

None of The Old Vic’s trustees were aware of the allegations, they have said.

Spacey has not yet commented on the allegations, and The Old Vic has said it has not been possible to verify the claims.

The theatre said having Spacey as its artistic director put it in a “unique position”, and that the “cult of personality” surrounding his role may have prevented people, particularly junior staff or young actors, “from feeling they would speak up or raise a hand for help”.

The Old Vic chairman Nick Clarry said: “On behalf of The Old Vic Board of Trustees, to all those people who felt unable to speak up at the time, The Old Vic truly apologises.

“Inappropriate behaviour by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable. We will foster a safe and supportive environment without prejudice, harassment or bullying of any sort, at any level.

“We want anyone who works here to feel confident, valued and proud to be part of The Old Vic family.”

Matthew Warchus, The Old Vic’s artistic director, said he has “genuine and deep sympathy” for those who have come forward, who said they were “hurt in some way” by his predecessor’s actions.

Kevin Spacey

“Everyone is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment and intimidation,” Warchus added.

“The Old Vic is now actively engaged in the process of healing and the process of prevention.

“These allegations have been a shock and a disturbing surprise to many of us. It is incorrect, unfair and irresponsible to say that everybody knew. But as a result of the investigation, what we have learnt is how better to call out this behaviour in future.

“These findings will help not only The Old Vic but our industry as a whole, as together we rapidly evolve an intelligent new standard of protection and support in and around the workplace.”

Following the inquiry, The Old Vic has said it is now committed to a new way forward to create a safe and secure working environment for all.

The scheme includes appointing guardians to “champion best practice” from across the Board of Trustees and wider organisation, and providing refocused guidance and training.

Allegations against Spacey emerged last month when actor Anthony Rapp claimed Spacey had placed him on a bed and climbed on top of him following a party at his apartment in 1986.

Others have come forward with allegations against the actor, who is being investigated by police in the UK over an alleged sexual assault in Lambeth, south London, in 2008.

PA Media

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