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Kevin Spacey sexual assault claims: British police launch investigation

The Scotland Yard is investigating the sexual assault of a man in London in 2008 when Kevin Spacey worked as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.

hollywood Updated: Nov 03, 2017 20:30 IST
The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian
Kevin Spacey,Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault,Kevin Spacey Sexual Harassment
The Scotland Yard has launched investigation into sexual harassment accusations piling against actor Kevin Spacey.(AFP)

British police are investigating a claim of sexual assault made against the Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey, the Guardian understands.

Officers from Scotland Yard’s child abuse and sexual offences team are looking into claims a man was sexually assaulted in London in 2008, while Spacey was working in the UK capital as the artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.

“On 1 November, City of London police referred an allegation of sexual assault to the Metropolitan police service,” a Scotland Yard spokesman said on Friday. “It is alleged a man assaulted another man in 2008 in Lambeth. Officers from the child abuse and sexual offences command are investigating.”

General views of The Old Vic theatre on the Cut in central London on November 2, 2017. Former workers at The Old Vic, where US actor Kevin Spacey was its artistic director from 2003 to 2015, told The Guardian newspaper that the London theatre ignored allegations of groping and inappropriate sexual behaviour on November 2, 2017. (AFP)

The Met declined to confirm the identity of the alleged perpetrator, but it is believed to be 58-year-old Spacey. A spokesman said it had no record of any arrests having been made in connection with the investigation and police declined to comment on a report from the Sun that the complainant had been interviewed by police.

According to the paper, the man, now aged 32, alleged that Spacey abused him after he passed out at Spacey’s home, where they had shared a drink after the complainant, then aged 23, asked Spacey to help him with his career.

The Sun reported the man’s claims that he awoke to find Spacey performing a sexual act on him, told him to stop and left after Spacey warned him to keep quiet about it.

Spacey has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple current and former employees of the TV show House of Cards , as the scandal surrounding him continues to grow.

This image released by Netflix shows Kevin Spacey in a scene from House Of Cards. Netflix says it's suspending production on House of Cards following harassment allegations against Spacey. (AP)

Allegations against Spacey include a claim of sexual assault made by a former crew member on the Netflix drama, according to a report by CNN . Other employees on the series said he had created a “toxic” work environment on set through his behaviour.

CNN said it had heard from eight people about Spacey’s alleged conduct. The news network said the individuals, who were all former or current employees on the show, had spoken on the condition of anonymity, fearing “professional repercussions” if they made their claims public.

Related: Netflix cancels House of Cards amid Kevin Spacey allegations

All of those involved described Spacey’s behaviour as “predatory”. It allegedly included non-consensual touching and inappropriate sexual comments, with the actor typically targeting young, male members of the production crew.

The claim of sexual assault against Spacey came from a former House of Cards production assistant, who said that the actor had inappropriately touched him in a car during filming of one of the early seasons of the show. The assistant said he did not report the alleged incident to managers, but claimed to have earlier complained to a supervisor about other instances of harassment by Spacey.

This combination photo shows, top row from left, film producer Harvey Weinstein, former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price, director James Toback, New Orleans chef John Besh, middle row from left, fashion photographer Terry Richardson, New Republic contributing editor Leon Wiseltier, former NBC News political commentator Mark Halperin, former Defy Media executive Andy Signore, and bottom row from left, filmmaker Brett Ratner, actor Kevin Spacey, actor Jeremy Piven and actor Dustin Hoffman. In the weeks since the string of allegations against Weinstein first began, an ongoing domino effect has tumbled through not just Hollywood but at least a dozen other industries. (AP Photos/File) (AP)

Another crew member claimed Spacey had routinely harassed and touched him throughout the show’s run. “He would put his hands on me in weird ways. He would come in and massage my shoulders from behind or put his hands around me or touch my stomach,” the crew member said.

Responding to the claims, Netflix told CNN that it had known about one incident involving Spacey, but said that it had been informed that it was “resolved swiftly”. Meanwhile, the studio that produces House of Cards, Media Rights Capital, told CNN that it had implemented “an anonymous complaint hotline, crisis counsellors, and sexual harassment legal advisers for the crew”.

Netflix suspended filming of House of Cards’ sixth and final season last week in the wake of allegations made by actor Anthony Rapp , who said that Spacey had made sexual advances towards him at a party in 1985, when Rapp was 14 years old. The claims were soon followed by accounts of alleged misconduct towards several other men, including film-maker Tony Montana and British barman Daniel Beal.

Another alleged victim of harassment by Spacey, the Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos , said that Spacey had preyed on men while he was artistic director at the Old Vic. That account was supported by several other accounts in the Guardian from actors and former staff at the theatre, who claimed that Spacey’s inappropriate behaviour was widely known, and that the theatre had turned a blind eye to it .

The allegations against Spacey have continued to take a toll on his professional activities. On Thursday, both Spacey’s publicist, Staci Wolfe, and his talent representative Creative Artists Agency, told Deadline that they would not longer be working for him , while the Dutch bank ING announced on Friday that it had cancelled a planned appearance by Spacey at a business conference it was organising in Rotterdam.

“In view of the commotion caused by allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding Kevin Spacey, ING has decided it is no longer desirable to have him speak at the event,” a representative of the bank told Reuters.

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First Published: Nov 03, 2017 20:07 IST