Briefing

Kevin Spacey's latest criminal allegations

What the actor's newest misconduct allegations mean amid his comeback effort

Nearly five years after first being accused of sexual misconduct, disgraced actor Kevin Spacey is facing new charges as he attempts an acting comeback. Here's what you need to know: 

What are the new charges against Kevin Spacey?

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service announced on May 26 it authorized criminal charges against Spacey: four counts of sexual assault against three men, as well as one charge of "causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent." 

The authorized charges came after a Metropolitan Police investigation. Two of the charges stem from incidents that allegedly took place in London in March 2005, while two more stem from incidents in August 2008 in London and another stems from an April 2013 incident in Gloucestershire. 

Officials didn't detail the allegations, but Spacey was the artistic director for the Old Vic Theatre in London during this time. In 2017, the theater said it received 20 allegations of inappropriate behavior by the actor, including "sexually inappropriate" touching, and three people told the theater they contacted police, BBC News reports

Will Spacey be extradited?

British authorities plan to seek Spacey's extradition should he not appear in court, according to Variety. But in a May 31 statement to Good Morning America, the actor said he would "voluntarily appear" in court in the U.K. to "defend myself against these charges, which I am confident will prove my innocence." 

Though it was initially reported that Spacey had already been charged, authorities clarified the charges had only been authorized, and he will "be formally charged at a later date." Spacey "cannot be formally charged unless he enters England or Wales," The New York Times notes

Has Spacey been charged before?

Yes, this isn't Spacey's first time facing criminal charges since the sexual misconduct allegations emerged in 2017.

In 2018, Spacey was charged with indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping an 18-year-old man at a bar in Nantucket two years earlier. He pleaded not guilty, and on Christmas Eve 2018, he released a video speaking in character as Frank Underwood from House of Cards, which drew widespread confusion and derision. (Spacey would go on to release two further videos on Christmas Eve in 2019 and 2020, sparking a similar reaction.) 

By July 2019, prosecutors dropped the charges "due to the unavailability of the complaining witness." The accuser and his mother said they couldn't find a cell phone he used to send text messages during the alleged assault, according to CNN. When asked about the phone and allegations that he deleted text messages, the accuser pleaded the fifth

Spacey was also sued by a massage therapist who accused him of groping, but that case was dropped in 2019 after the accuser's death. 

Are there any other ongoing cases involving Spacey?

Spacey is also facing a lawsuit from Anthony Rapp, the Star Trek and Rent actor who was the first to come forward with allegations against him. 

In 2017, Rapp told BuzzFeed News Spacey made a sexual advance toward him when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. At the time, Spacey said he didn't recall the alleged incident but that "if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior." After Rapp came forward, Spacey faced misconduct allegations from over 30 people. 

Rapp sued Spacey in September 2020 along with another anonymous man who was later dropped from the case. In April 2022, Spacey asked a judge to dismiss Rapp's lawsuit. His lawyers said the encounter never happened and argued that what Rapp describes doesn't qualify as sexual abuse under the law, according to The Associated Press. Rapp's attorneys said Spacey was offering a "sanitized version of the facts" by trying to claim that a "grown man who picks up a minor child, lays him down on a bed, and presses his groin into the child is not evidence that a touching occurred and that the acts were performed for sexual gratification," per Rolling Stone

Spacey appeared for a hearing in New York regarding the Rapp lawsuit in May 2022 on the same day the assault U.K. charges were unveiled. The Rapp trial is expected to take place in October 2022

Spacey was also sued by MRC, the production company behind Netflix's House of Cards, which said it lost money as a result of the actor having to be fired from the show's last season when he was accused of sexual misconduct. An arbitrator awarded MRC $31 million, and Spacey lost an appeal

What's the status of Spacey's acting career? 

Spacey was largely banished from Hollywood after the 2017 allegations, though in 2018, he appeared in the movie Billionaire Boys Club, which was shot prior to the scandal and quietly released to little fanfare and negative reviews. 

In May 2021, though, Spacey was hired for his first film since the allegations: an Italian movie called The Man Who Drew God, which centers around a man wrongfully accused of sexual abuse. Spacey will also star in the upcoming thriller Peter Five Eight, and in May 2022, he was cast in 1242 – Gateway To The West, in which he will play Genghis Khan's grandson in his "biggest feature" since the allegations, Deadline said

Thus far, though, Spacey hasn't booked a role in any major American studio projects, and when the trailer for Peter Five Eight was released, Paste wrote that the low-budget production looked "laughably amateurish."

A full-on comeback that sees Spacey starring in Hollywood studio films again seems highly unlikely, especially while his criminal and civil cases are ongoing. Time's Up U.K. chair Dame Heather Rabbatts told Variety in 2021 that those seeking "rehabilitation and redemption" must demonstrate they "understand that your behavior was not one that is acceptable." In Spacey's case, though, one of his anonymous accusers argued to Variety, "That hasn't existed at all. Instead, what we've had is bloody creepy Christmas messages every year."

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