The Old Vic theater releases the results of its investigation into Spacey, and it’s not pretty.
An investigation conducted by The Old Vic theater in London, where Spacey served as the artistic director from 2004 to 2015, found allegations of “a range of inappropriate behavior” by Spacey from 20 different people over an 18-year period.
The allegations span from 1995 to 2013, during which time Spacey was associated with the theater, whether as a performer or director. The theater released its findings in a press releaseThursday along with an apology for failing to create an environment where victims felt empowered to speak out about Spacey’s alleged actions.
“The investigation resulted in 20 personal testimonies shared of alleged inappropriate behaviour carried out by Kevin Spacey during his time as Artistic Director,” the report reads. “Despite having the appropriate escalation processes in place, it was claimed that those affected felt unable to raise concerns and that Kevin Spacey operated without sufficient accountability. This is clearly unacceptable and The Old Vic truly apologises for not creating an environment or culture where people felt able to speak freely.”
The investigation, conducted by law firm Lewis Silkin beginning on October 31, uncovered “20 personal allegations of incidents,” all but two of which fell before 2009. Despite the alarming number of allegations, none of them resulted in any formal action taken against Spacey during his tenure at the theater, and only one alleged victim complained during that time:
No legal claims, formal grievances, formal disputes, settlement agreements or payments made or authorised were made at all in relation to Kevin Spacey during his tenure. … The given testimony shows that in all but one case, those individuals alleging inappropriate behaviour by Kevin Spacey did not come forward at the time or asked that no formal action be taken.
The likely reason no one came forward, the report suggests, is the “cult of personality” surrounding Spacey. “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 report states. “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 report underscores that the investigators have not been able to verify the allegations and Spacey has made no comment on any of them as of yet; thus, the review “cannot therefore make any findings of fact about the alleged misconduct.”
The report offers the following summary of the investigation’s findings:
- There are allegations of a range of inappropriate behaviour relating to Kevin Spacey during his time as Artistic Director of The Old Vic.
- No correspondents alleged they were minors at the time that their complaint arose. The Trustees were unaware of the allegations.
- With the exception of one of the claims, none of the reported incidents were raised formally or informally with management.
- Staff who observed this behaviour claimed they were unclear about how to respond; in some cases they did not consider allegations of misconduct to be serious and, where they clearly did, they said they did not feel confident that The Old Vic would take those allegations seriously given who he was.
- The following factors may have contributed to this escalation problem: star power; lack of clarity of The Old Vic’s accepted code of behaviour; confusion regarding the impact of reporting misconduct; career insecurity; tribalism between operational and creative staff during his tenure causing information gaps.
- Calling out this behaviour could have been easier if there had been a non-formal and confidential mechanism in place by which complaints could be raised safely within the organisation.
The theater also provides a list of steps it plans to take to create “a safe and secure working environment for all”:
- Appoint ‘Guardians’ who will be appointed from across the Board and wider organisation to champion best practice, and be a first point of contact for those who don’t want to reach out through formal channels
- Spend time with those who work here to create an ‘OK – Not OK’ set of cultural expectations for all to understand and own, setting out in basic terms behaviours we feel comfortable with, and those with which we do not
- Provide refocused guidance and training, and opportunities for checks and feedback at all times
Spacey is currently under investigation by British authorities for sexual misconduct allegations.