Though Netflix pulled the plug this week on House of Cards after actor Kevin Spacey admitted to sexual assault on a 14-year old, it appears that Spacey's character Frank Underwood - a Machiavellian figure who wielded power by any means possible - may be a truer reflection of Spacey's actual personality and behavior than many in the film industry would care to admit. Yesterday multiple cast and crew members of the now defunct Netflix series came forward to tell CNN that Spacey created a "toxic" atmosphere on set in which his aggressive sexual behavior was something, as one camera assistant said, "everybody saw" - but which few formally complained about for fear that their careers would end.
The CNN story was published the same day that yet another man has come forward to say he had a sexual relationship with Kevin Spacey at the age of 14 - which included an attempted rape - while Spacey was an adult working on Broadway. Similar to now substantiated allegations against powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the floodgate of accusations has now opened against Spacey, and it is likely that more will continue to emerge in the coming weeks. Both embattled figures, who were until very recently among the most powerful in Hollywood, now say they are "seeking treatment" in isolation as accusations are quickly turning into police investigations in different parts of the globe.
And in the midst of this week's fallout, it's not only Netflix that has quickly dropped Spacey, but the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced that he will not be honored at the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award, having this week revoked his reward. But also like Weinstein, who appears to have assaulted women over a period of multiple decades, Spacey's behavior was apparently known all around Hollywood, to the point that it was referenced in a punchline in a 2005 episode of "The Family Guy".
Kevin Spacey's predatory behavior is such common knowledge in Hollywood that it was a joke on The Family Guy back in 2005. pic.twitter.com/K2yuOPZhJa
— Sam Kalidi (@samkalidi) October 30, 2017
Meanwhile, the testimonies from the House of Cards cast and crew couldn't be more shocking. One detailed account given to CNN from an unnamed former production assistant appears to have taken place in Maryland, near the House of Cards filming location:
The former production assistant who spoke with CNN said Spacey sexually assaulted him one afternoon when the assistant was assigned to drive to an offsite location to pick up Spacey and bring him to the "House of Cards" set, which is located about 30 miles outside of Baltimore.
The production assistant says that when he and Spacey were just minutes away from the set and while the car was moving, Spacey, who was driving, put his hands down the production assistant's pants. The production assistant told CNN that the touching was nonconsensual.
"I was in a state of shock," he said. "He was a man in a very powerful position on the show and I was someone very low on the totem pole and on the food chain there."
The production assistant asked that what happened next in the car not be described, for fear that it would identify him.
Once they had arrived on set, the production assistant says he helped the actor take his belongings from the car to Spacey's trailer on set. While the two men were in the trailer, the production assistant says, Spacey cornered him, blocked his exit and made inappropriate contact with him.
"I told him, 'I don't think I'm ok with this, I don't think I'm comfortable with this,'" the production assistant said. That's when the actor became "visibly flustered," fled the trailer, got in his car and left for the remainder of the day, according to the production assistant.
But perhaps just as scandalous is the behavior of the show's supervisors after the man issued a complaint. The production assistant told CNN that a supervisor merely told him to ensure that he's never alone with Spacey on set, after which the sexual harassment stopped long enough for him to slowly feel comfortable driving Spacey to the set once again. "I have no doubt that this type of predatory behavior was routine for him and that my experience was one of many and that Kevin had few if any qualms about exploiting his status and position," and the production assistant continued to tell CNN, "It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors."
Other crew members had similar stories of aggressive and unwanted physical touching which came to define the way Spacey interacted with young male employees on the set: "He would put his hands on me in weird ways," one crew member said. "He would come in and massage my shoulders from behind or put his hands around me or touch my stomach sometimes in weird ways that in normal everyday conversation would not be appropriate."
When asked why the crew member didn't complain to management, he said he feared that his career would be over: "That's the worst part about this whole thing. I would love to be able to speak out about this kind of stuff and not fear." But it seems such fear permeated the environment on set, and made everyone afraid to speak on what might not even be defined as an "open secret" as it appears to have been normalized by a management team which consistently looked the other way for fear of upsetting their powerful and legendary starring actor.
As yet a further House of Cards crew member told CNN:
"All the crew members commented on his behavior," the former camera assistant said. "What gets me is we have to sign sexual harassment paperwork before the start of the show and apparently [Kevin Spacey] doesn't have to do anything and he gets away scott-free with this behavior." CNN confirmed that Spacey was given guidelines regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.
Colleagues never complained because they were afraid of losing their jobs, the former camera assistant said.
"Who is going to believe crew members?" he said. "You're going to get fired."
According to one female employee Spacey couched his behavior in terms of "games" and "play fights" which would routinely take place with young males and would be quite out in the open. "It was very known that Kevin was inappropriate, and males I worked with complained to me about how they felt uncomfortable," she told CNN. "Kevin does this thing which was play fights with them in order to touch them," which specifically involved him approaching "multiple people" to "say hello, greet them, shake their hand and pull their hand down to his crotch and touch their crotch. I have friends say he reached up their shorts on set."
In response to the allegations of Netflix management turning a blind eye while essentially giving Spacey free reign, Netflix issued the following statement:
"Netflix was just made aware of one incident, five years ago, that we were informed was resolved swiftly. On Tuesday, in collaboration with MRC [Media Rights Capital, which produces the series], we suspended production, knowing that Kevin Spacey wasn't scheduled to work until Wednesday. Netflix is not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set. We continue to collaborate with MRC and other production partners to maintain a safe and respectful working environment. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the production, and have nothing further to share at this time."
MRC also told CNN in a separate statement that they have implemented "an anonymous complaint hotline, crisis counselors, and sexual harassment legal advisors for the crew" - though clearly it seems all too little too late.
On the other side of Atlantic in the UK, multiple employees and cast members of the Old Vic theater in London, where Spacey was artistic director from 2004-2015, have similarly come forward with multiple allegations - this to the point that the Old Vic has announced its own confidential complaints process for any victims.
Meanwhile, another man has come forward with chilling details involving Kevin Spacey's early career on Broadway when the actor was in his 20's living in New York City. He told Vulture in a bombshell interview published the same day as the CNN investigation that Spacey "groomed" him while a minor at the age of 14 for a sexual relationship after the two met at a youth acting workshop that Spacey led.
The full interview contains lengthy and shocking lurid details of the victim's account, and concludes with the following bombshell assertions of the victim:
I would call him a pedophile and a sexual predator. When I turned 25, I looked at every 14-year-old boy I could see, to try to understand what those men had seen, because I still on some level thought I had been a tiny adult...
He is a pedophile. When you look at his statement, you realize also he’s profoundly narcissistic. He thinks this is about being caught that he’s gay. And then he is spinning it, right? “Oh, people like gays now. So I’ll throw them that. I’ll say I’m gay and I will betray my whole community and do something else that conflates pedophilia with male homosexuality.” That’s great. Thank you for that. And that was probably the thing that made me want to talk more than anything else. How repulsive that was.
During the time period, the victim who remains unnamed for fears over his safety (though Vulture says it thoroughly collaborated multiple aspects to the story), says that he fled Spacey's apartment after the then 24-year old Broadway actor tried to rape him.
Meanwhile, when it comes to legal terms and the question of whether a formal investigation against Kevin Spacey can take place, though some states don't have a statute of limitations on child sexual assault crimes, New York's is one of the least favorable toward victims in the country (both Anthony Rapp - the first to come forward, and the latest victim who spoke to Vulture - appear far beyond the NY statute of limitations for filing criminal charges).
However, the latest revelations from House of Cards crew members were obviously more recent in time, and thus are subject to formal police investigation and prosecution. And though we can image that any average citizen would certainly be aggressively pursued by criminal prosecutors, it remains to be seen if Hollywood's celebrity elite will be held to the same standards.
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