It appears Kevin Spacey has been welcomed back into the film industry with open arms. The seemingly untouchable American actor is set to begin shooting his next movie venture—an indie British thriller titled Control—despite still facing a slew of sexual misconduct charges.
Some industry insiders have deemed the actor vindicated after a jury in New York found him innocent of molestation. According to The Independent, actor and broadway singer Anthony Rapp had sought $40 million in damages after alleging he had been preyed upon by 63-year-old Spacey during a party at his Manhattan apartment in 1986 when he was only 14-years-old. After three weeks of deliberation, the jury found Spacey not liable of sexual battery.
While some may consider this incident resolved, it’s marked only the beginning of what will be a long and strenuous battle for justice. In 2017, after Rapp publicly accused Spacey of sexual misconduct, the floodgates opened. Over the course of five years, 15 men shared similar encounters with the decorated actor—all alleging that Spacey was indeed a prolific sexual predator. And a number of criminal trials are yet to come.
While the actor was dropped from his run on TV show House of Cards after the allegations hit the news, it seems his sabbatical from the limelight was short lived.
Hollywood has a long-standing history of protecting those who operate within its inner circles. It could be argued that the establishment’s overnight restoration of Johnny Depp’s reputation after he won his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard was a clear indication that her side of the story was not a priority. Many people seem to forget that just because the Pirates of the Caribbean star ‘won’ the libel case, does not mean he is not guilty of abusing his ex-wife.
Of course, we know now—after unsealed documents were released onto the internet—that Depp is far less angelic than he would like to appear. Similarly, one has to only glance at Jared Leto’s muddy past to see the absurdity in his rising Hollywood status.
Despite having won his previous case against Rapp, Spacey still faces a number of other criminal charges across the pond. Most prominently is an upcoming trial set to take place in the summer of 2023. According to Vanity Fair, the official trial proceedings will begin on 6 June. Spacey has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault against three men and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
Before the 2023 trial commences, the American Beauty actor has had to appear in court in London in the summer of 2022 to hear the charges put against him and to enter his plea. In December 2022, he will have to once again make the visit after a fourth man emerged as a complainant and Spacey was charged with a further seven counts of additional sexual offences, as reported by The Guardian. In the majority of these cases, the allegations span from the early 90s to the early 2000s.
Spacey’s new film Control is being driven forward by creative Gene Fallaize, and the director and screenwriter is not holding back on how he feels about the actor. Speaking to Variety, Fallaize stated: “He’s one of the greatest actors of our generation. His personal life aside—it’s something I can’t comment on and have no knowledge of—it’s an opportunity to work with one of the acting greats.”
In other words, it’s clear Spacey’s current criminal charges are not swaying his celebrity impact. In fact, his name and credentials are plastered across the film’s promotional poster.
Playing the ominous and omniscient antagonist—how ironic—Spacey will star alongside Lauren Metcalfe and Mark Hampton. I suppose the only saving grace is that his role is solely a voice acting part and therefore his actual face will be hidden from our screens.
In an even more disappointing move, Italy’s National Museum of Cinema based in Turin also recently announced that Spacey would be awarded the prestigious Stella Della Mole Award for his contributions to cinema. In a statement relayed by Vanity Fair, Enzo Ghigo, President of the museum, noted: “We are honoured that such a prestigious guest as Kevin Spacey has chosen Turin and an institutional venue such as our museum for this welcome and long-awaited return. It is a privilege to host the master class of one of the greatest cinema and theatre actors of our times.”
Netizens have been debating and deliberating over the Spacey accusations since they first came to light in 2017. And while some have sat perhaps quietly on the fence previously, the actor’s recent trials and reemergence in the Hollywood spotlight has cemented his fate in a number of users’ eyes.
On Reddit, one fired up individual wrote: “Anyone that is connected with this movie that had the balls to give this man work can f*ck right off,” while another commented, “For all those saying ‘he was found to be innocent’ he’s currently on trial in the UK for various assault claims from at least 4 different people… he shouldn’t be working at all.”
A further netizen chimed in: “Well Chris Brown is back in top 40 radio so I guess Spacey’s return is right on schedule,” clearly referencing the controversial singer’s recent American Music Awards (AMAs) win.
Interestingly, a number of users also pointed out the difference between how white actors such as Spacey, Depp and Leto have managed to bypass a number of serious allegations—while Will Smith still faces intense perpetual criticism for the Oscars slapgate.
“This is exactly what people mean when they talk about black celebs not being held to the same standard of others. Logan Paul profited off of suicide and his career still going strong. Mel Gibson, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein I could go on… but we’re worried about a slap,” one Twitter user wrote.
Spacey has vehemently denied any wrongdoing so far in regard to the allegations. It seems we will have to wait for quite some time before witnessing the final outcome of these criminal trials.