Kevin Spacey gave testimony at his sexual assault trial in London. He fought back tears and dabbed his eyes with a tissue as he told jurors how sexual misconduct allegations six years ago had destroyed his career.
The American actor faces allegations of sexual assault from four men between 2001 and 2013. The four men came forward independently with allegations that he had assaulted them while living in the UK.
On Wednesday, the prosecution rested its case at Southwark Crown Court. Yesterday, the two-time Academy Award winning actor took to the stand for his defence proceedings.
After three hours in the witness box, Spacey made an emotional testimony.
“My world exploded,” he said at his sexual assault trial. “There was a rush to judgement and before the first question was asked or answered I lost my job, I lost my reputation, I lost everything in a matter of days.”
He denied sexually assaulting three men and chalked up crotch-grabbing allegations by a fourth as having been a “clumsy pass.”
The allegations that sent Spacey's stellar film and stage career into a spiral came in 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum in the US and a fellow actor accused him of sexually inappropriate behaviour three decades earlier.
Prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped charges against him when the alleged victim refused to testify. A jury in New York jury last Autumn cleared Spacey in a $40 million lawsuit by Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp on allegations dating to 1986.
News of the US accusations led others to come forward, including the four men in England who said the two-time Oscar winner sexually assaulted them between 2001 and 2013.
The four alleged victims, who didn't know each other, independently described disturbing encounters that escalated from unwanted touching to aggressive fondling. One man who called Spacey a “vile sexual predator” said he passed out or fell asleep on the actor’s London sofa and woke up to find him performing oral sex.
Defence lawyer Patrick Gibbs went through the allegations chronologically with Spacey, dating to the early 2000s when he came to work at the Old Vic Theatre in London and later became its artistic director.
Spacey took a dramatic pause in his testimony as he recalled the “intimate” and “somewhat sexual” friendship he shared with a man now accusing the actor of violently groping him. He said he was “crushed” the man accused him of sexual assault.
“I never thought that (the man) I knew would ... 20 years later stab me in the back,” Spacey said.
The accuser had testified that Spacey's fondling culminated when the man was driving and Spacey grabbed his crotch so violently he almost ran off the road. He told police he warned Spacey to never do it again and threatened to knock him out.
“That never happened,” Spacey testified. “I was not on a suicide mission in any of those years.”
“I’m a big flirt," Spacey said, acknowledging he probably made the first moves. He said he touched the man but not in a “violent, aggressive, painful way.”
Spacey's description of gentle stroking was in direct contradiction to the testimony from the alleged victims. They said he caught them by surprise when he aggressively grabbed their privates through their clothing. “It wasn’t like a caress," one man testified. “It was like a cobra coming out and getting hold.”
Addressing another serious charge in the case, Spacey raised his voice and denied the suggestion he drugged a man before assaulting him.
“I know the way I am with someone and I would never be behaving in the way he claimed — it makes no logical sense,” he said.
Spacey said he couldn't recall the man when police confronted him. After repeatedly watching video of the man's interview by a detective, he said he pieced together that they had a brief consensual sexual encounter in his apartment that ended when the man left in a hurry.
“The person that I had this intimate moment with was suddenly awkward and fumbling,” he said. “If he regretted it immediately, I don’t know. I can’t speak for him, but something was weird.”
He said his phone records indicated they continued to text each other over several months.
The rest of the trial
Spacey said he primarily accepted the account of a fourth man who accused the actor of kissing his neck twice and grabbing his crotch during a night of heavy drinking.
The man testified that Spacey looked panicked when he pushed him away and said, “I don’t bat for that team."
Spacey said he didn't recall making the “clumsy pass” but was glad the man said he ceased when the man said he wasn't interested.
At least two of the men have also filed suit against Spacey. He faces hours of cross-examination Friday and his lawyer will then present several witnesses on his behalf.
The trial continues.