Kevin Spacey Update: London’s Old Vic Reports 20 Cases of ‘Inappropriate Behaviour’

“We are committed to a new way forward,” new artistic director says in a statement accompanying investigation’s findings

Last Updated: November 16, 2017 @ 8:31 AM

London’s Old Vic has released its findings after investigating accusations of sexual misconduct against actor Kevin Spacey. The theatre found that 20 cases of alleged “inappropriate behaviour” took place between 1995 and 2013, with all but two falling before 2009.

“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,” per a Thursday release to media.

“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,” the report read. “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 Old Vic, which was aided externally by law firm Lewis Silkin, pointed out that it has “not been possible to verify any of these allegations.” After all, no legal claims were made, nor settlements paid out. Spacey has not directly commented on the accusations.

A “deeply dismayed” Old Vic also revealed the following from its investigation

  • No correspondents alleged they were minors at the time that their complaint arose
  • The Trustees were unaware of the allegations
  • 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

Going forward, the theatre will appoint “Guardians” to champion new best practices, and to be a first point of contact for those who do not want to use the formal channels of escalation. All workers will be re-trained on “OK-Not OK” behavior, and the theatre’s established victim-support counseling service will remain open 24/7 for the next 12 months.

“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 apologises,” Nick Clarry, chairman of The Old Vic, said. “Inappropriate behaviour 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.”

“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,” new Artistic Director Matthew Warchus said. “The Old Vic is now actively engaged in the process of healing and the process of prevention.”

“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,” he continued. “But as a result of the investigation, what we have learnt is how better to call out this behaviour in future.”

“These findings will help not only The Old Vic but our industry as a whole, as together we rapidly evolve an intelligent new standard of protection and support in and around the workplace,” Spacey’s successor concluded. “We are committed to a new way forward.”