LONDON — American actor Kevin Spacey is a “sexual bully” who “delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable,” a London court heard Friday as prosecutors began setting out their case against the Hollywood star.
“Each of these allegations of non-consensual sexual conduct is completely denied,” Spacey’s attorney, Patrick Gibbs, told the jury on the first full day of trial. “Mr. Spacey has come back to the U.K., as he said he would, to answer them and … put all the rumors and conjecture to bed.”
Prosecutor Christine Agnew told the jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court that Spacey may have got a “sexual thrill” from preying on other men.
Kevin Spacey trial opens in London court. Here’s what to know.
Spacey “does not respect personal boundaries or space” and “delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable, a sexual bully,” Agnew said, according to the Press Association, a British news agency, and other wire services who reported from the courtroom.
Spacey denies the 12 charges against him and has previously said he hopes to make a career comeback once he has established his innocence and the London trial is finished.
The trial officially got underway earlier this week with jury selection. The jury will hear from the four men during the trial, which is expected to last three to four weeks.
“None of the men wanted to be touched by Kevin Spacey Fowler in a sexual way, but he doesn’t seem to have cared very much for their feelings,” Agnew said, using the actor’s full name. “He did what he wanted to do for his own personal sexual gratification.”
The prosecutor warned the jury that they might feel “star struck or overwhelmed that you are part of the jury to try such a famous person but … you must keep yourself grounded and true to the oath that you have taken.”
Spacey arrived at the Southwark Crown Court more than two hours before his case started. He traveled to the court in a London black cab and wore a gray suit and gold tie.
The charges against him include sexual assault, indecent assault and causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
The alleged incidents are said to have taken place in London and Gloucestershire between 2001 and 2013. During much of that time, Spacey was the artistic director of London’s Old Vic theater, a prestigious playhouse. All four complainants are unnamed in this case, as is their right under British law.
One of them said that Spacey laughed at him after he rebuffed the actor’s advances, which included putting his hand on his leg and “grabbing him with such force it was painful” — as Agnew retold the allegation in court. Spacey “commented that his getting angry simply turned him on,” the prosecutor said.
Agnew said another man — an aspiring actor who was hoping Spacey would mentor him — fell asleep in Spacey’s apartment after the two went to a pub, and allegedly woke up to Spacey performing a sexual act on him.
Spacey was one of America’s most celebrated actors before allegations of sexual assault emerged at the height of the #MeToo movement. He won Oscars for the films “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.” His turn as Frank Underwood in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards” made him a household name. Shortly after he was first accused of sexual misconduct in 2017, he was dropped by that show and cut from Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” a film that was completed at the time but then reshot with actor Christopher Plummer.
In police interviews, according to Agnew, Spacey said it was “entirely possible and indeed likely” that he had made a “clumsy pass” at some of his accusers. But in a rare interview this month, Spacey told Germany’s Zeit magazine that the media had turned him into a “monster” and that “a lot of people are very afraid that if they support me, they will be canceled.”
There are “people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London,” he added. “The second that happens, they’re ready to move forward.”
On Friday, Spacey’s attorney asked jurors to consider any ulterior motives the complainants may have, saying that there may be a “sinister spin” on the information the prosecution presents and that some of it may be “made up or twisted” and “deliberately exaggerated.”
“You will hear some truths, you will hear some half-truths, you will also hear … some deliberate exaggerations and some many damned lies,” Gibbs said.
The trial will continue for approximately three to four weeks.