Gwendolyn Purdom
November 16, 2017 11:37 am
Frazer Harrison / BAFTA LA / Getty Images for BAFTA LA

Following last month’s explosive report about Kevin Spacey’s predatory behavior, which opened the door for an avalanche of allegations involving the actor, London’s The Old Vic theater launched its own investigation. And on November 16th, The Old Vic — where Kevin Spacey served as artistic director from 2004 to 2015 — announced it had uncovered 20 claims of inappropriate behavior against Spacey.

The Old Vic initially said no complaints had been filed against Kevin Spacey during his time as artistic director.

But in a statement posted to the theater’s site and on social media, Old Vic administrators said they hired outside law firm Lewis Silkin almost immediately after the news about Spacey broke. The investigation found that while no formal claims were made during that time, there were 20 personal accounts of Spacey-related incidents dating from 1995 to 2003. The victims, who were not named in the statement, said they experienced a “range of inappropriate behaviour.”

Spacey did not participate in the investigation, though the theater said he was invited to. And so far, he has not commented on the new claims. The actor’s reps previously said Spacey is seeking treatment in the wake of the growing list of allegations against him (and the nosedive his career has rightfully taken in response to those claims). We still don’t know what kind of treatment.

Back in October when the story was first unfolding, actor Roberto Cavazos was one of many to suggest Spacey’s pattern of behavior was a well-known “secret” in the entertainment world. (The number of Kevin Spacey “jokes” that have been pointed out since in a number of TV shows would back up that claim.) Cavazos said in a Facebook post at the time that “it was so common, it became a local joke (in very bad taste.)”

The Old Vic, however, is adamant that its leadership team had no idea this was going on.

According to current artistic director Matthew Warchus: “These allegations have been a shock and a disturbing surprise to many of us. It is incorrect, unfair, and irresponsible to say that everybody knew. But as a result of the investigation, what we have learnt is how better to call out this behaviour in future.”

The theater also said it is committed to changing the culture that allowed this to go on unchecked for so many years. Its statement lays out a set of procedures including establishing “Points of Contact” for people to turn to if they feel unsafe, determining what behaviors are and aren’t okay, and providing additional training and feedback.

While there’s clearly still much to be done, acknowledging past mistakes and crafting concrete steps to keep this kind of awful thing from happening again is at least a small step in the right direction.

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