Kevin Spacey Faces Felony Charges In Alleged Sexual Assault Case
NOEL KING, HOST:
Actor Kevin Spacey is facing a felony charge for alleged sexual assault. He's accused of assaulting an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket restaurant in 2016. He's expected to be arraigned on January 7.
Now, right around the time that news broke yesterday, Spacey posted a video to YouTube. It seems like he's riffing on the character he once played, Frank Underwood from the Netflix series "House Of Cards." He talks directly to the camera, as Underwood did.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
KEVIN SPACEY: So we're not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back.
KING: Spacey was cut from the show last year after other men accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Alissa Wilkinson is a film critic for Vox. She's been reporting on men in Hollywood who are accused of sexual misconduct. Good morning, Alissa.
ALISSA WILKINSON: Good morning.
KING: So we don't know if this video that Spacey posted is in response to the allegations, but it is bizarre. Can you describe what makes it so odd?
WILKINSON: Yeah. I mean, Spacey has basically been off the radar since the accusations appeared last year, which is almost exactly a year ago, against him. And it was posted, then, about 15 minutes after the story broke about his coming arraignment in Nantucket. So that was very bizarre.
But I think what's even more strange is that the character that he's playing - the accent he's taken on is for this character who is sort of a supervillain. You know, Frank Underwood is the central character in "House Of Cards," but he's also a lying, conniving murderer who basically kills his way to the top and becomes president of the United States.
And the one thing you know about Frank Underwood if you've ever watched the show is that nobody can ever trust him to ever tell the truth, so it's a very odd choice, at minimum, to choose to use Frank Underwood's character to make what appears to be a defense of Spacey.
KING: How has Spacey tried to defend himself against allegations in the past, because there have been others?
WILKINSON: There have, yeah. So the big one that came out last fall was Anthony Rapp, the Broadway actor, accused Spacey of unwanted sexual advancement when Rapp was 14. And in response, Spacey said on Twitter that he was going to, you know, take some time to reflect and be honest and that, as part of that, he was going to live as a gay man. That's where he put it - how he put it. He said, I want to deal with this openly and honestly, and that starts with examining my own behavior. And then that's kind of the last anyone heard of him.
But he came under criticism for that, you know, since the allegations weren't that he was gay or something like that, but rather that he had made these unwanted advances towards an underage person. So that was the last time that we saw him in public was trying to sort of deflect these allegations by doing something, you know, unrelated in response.
KING: Alissa, you've looked at other cases of men in Hollywood who've tried unsuccessfully to diffuse allegations of misconduct. In the short time we have left, why did these attempts seem to fall short?
WILKINSON: You know, it seems as if a lot of these men, for instance Harvey Weinstein, or maybe Louis C.K., have a sense of their own celebrity that's kind of inflated them from the reality of both the allegations and of the seriousness of them.
And, you know, if you look at a lot of apologies that have come out from different people who've been accused of things, they often don't really address the underlying issue, but rather try to go in a different direction. And it just sort of feels like they're completely out of touch with, you know, the seriousness of what they've done and why people are upset with them about it.
KING: Film critic Alissa Wilkinson of Vox, thanks so much.
WILKINSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.