Sunday 18 August 2019

Old Vic apologises after 20 allegations against Kevin Spacey

The London theatre has released the conclusion following its investigation into allegations concerning the actor.

Actor Kevin Spacey
Actor Kevin Spacey

By Laura Harding and Kerri-Ann Roper

The Old Vic theatre has said it “truly apologises” to anyone affected after an internal investigation resulted in 20 people claiming they experienced inappropriate behaviour by former artistic director Kevin Spacey.

The London theatre released findings into the allegations against the actor, who was in the role between 2004 and 2015, at a press conference where the theatre’s executive director, Kate Varah, said it had been a “dismaying time” that she hoped “will not colour the future of this theatre”.

Kevin Spacey

The theatre’s current chairman, Nick Clarry, issued an apology on behalf of the board of trustees to “all those people who felt unable to speak up at the time”.

Clarry said: “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.”

Varah told press the theatre apologised to “the people who feel they were affected by this. It’s really important to understand that there is a new way forward for this organisation.

“We are 200 next year and there has been a very long and vibrant history of this theatre and this was a really dismaying time and a discovery that should not, I hope sincerely, colour the future of this theatre and our ability to work with the people that were affected, understand what went wrong and then move forward and continue to keep this theatre that we all love thriving.”

The theatre engaged external law firm Lewis Silkin 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.

They also said that none of The Old Vic’s trustees were aware of the allegations against the Oscar winner.

Lawyer Richard Miskella said there were 56 responses to the confidential email address set up to allow people to come forward with allegation, and those responses included messages from concerned members of the public, former staff and people who had attended events at the theatre.

Of the 56 responses, 20 were personal testimonies alleging inappropriate conduct by Spacey between 1995 and 2013.

The allegation in 1995 relates to a project The Old Vic was connected with, the press conference was told.

All but two of the allegations against Spacey pre-date 2009 and 16 of the 20 personal testimonies were from former members of staff.

Some 14 of the 20 male complainants were told they should consider going to the police, the press conference was told.

Three said they had already gone to the police, while the other 11 have not disclosed to the investigation if they will or not.

Miskella said the allegations made related to a “range of behaviour” adding they varied from “behaviour that made people feel uncomfortable to sexually inappropriate behaviour”.


The theatre said it had received one testimony where an individual claimed he had informed the manager at the time and the manager “didn’t do anything”.

The individual in question asked the investigation not to be taken any further, and did not name the manager.

Spacey was invited to participate in the investigation but did not respond, Miskella said.

The investigation further found there was not widespread knowledge of Spacey’s alleged behaviour and Miskella added: “There were pockets of the Old Vic in which knowledge or suspicion was greater than others, and that did not get escalated.”

Several of the allegations related to the bar and others to creative spaces such as the stage and rehearsal rooms,  he said.

It is alleged that more than half of the incidents took place inside the Old Vic theatre, with the others at external locations.

The alleged incidents do not relate to minors under 18 but the complainants would be considered as “younger men”, the lawyer said.

He added that standard mechanisms (for complaints) were in place but that the review indicated “when you’re dealing with someone very important, very senior, with real star power behind them, maybe those mechanisms weren’t enough”.

Sexual harassment

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

Miskella said Spacey was invited to participate in the investigation but did not respond.

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.

Spacey has been contacted by the Press Association for comment on The Old Vic’s findings.

PA Media

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