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Old Vic Theater Logs 20 Complaints About Kevin Spacey, Pledges to Improve Accountability

Investigation finds Spacey's stardom and status may have prevented people coming forward

An investigation into Kevin Spacey’s conduct while he was artistic director of London’s historic Old Vic theater has resulted in 20 testimonies of alleged “inappropriate behavior” by the Oscar-winning actor.

Almost none of the 20 people who contacted The Old Vic complained at the time the alleged misconduct occurred, because they felt that they were unable to raise their concerns and that Spacey “operated without sufficient accountability,” the theater said in a statement Thursday. Also, Old Vic staff who witnessed inappropriate behavior were unsure how to respond or were not confident that the allegations would be taken seriously, given Spacey’s star status.

“During his tenure, The Old Vic was in a unique position of having a Hollywood star at the helm around whom existed a cult of personality. The investigation found that his stardom and status at The Old Vic may have prevented people, and in particular junior staff or young actors, from feeling that they could speak up or raise a hand for help,” the theater said.

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

The statement gave no details of the alleged incidents that surfaced during the theater’s investigation, except to say that none of those who came forward with accounts of misconduct by Spacey was a minor. The claims have not been verified, and Spacey has not commented on the allegations, The Old Vic said.

The theater also noted that no legal claims were brought against Spacey, nor have any settlements or payments been made by the The Old Vic.

Nick Clarry, chairman of The Old Vic, 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 apologizes. Inappropriate behavior 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, current artistic director, added: “I have genuine and deep sympathy for all those who have come forward and said they were hurt in some way by my predecessor’s actions. Everyone is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment and intimidation. The Old Vic is now actively engaged in the process of healing and the process of prevention.”

After allegations of assault emerged against Spacey, The Old Vic opened a help line for people who may have been affected by its former artistic director’s conduct during his 2004-2015 tenure at the theater.

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