The Hits Keep Coming for Kevin Spacey: Inside a Whirlwind Collapse

In light of the current climate in Hollywood, no one is extending any patience regarding the two-time Oscar winner's alleged misdeeds

By Natalie Finn Nov 07, 2017 2:48 PMTags

On Oct. 29, just nine days ago, Game 5 of the World Series prompted thousands of tweets about just how absurdly long the game lasted and how different the world was when it began, five hours and 17 minutes before it ended. Perhaps the most spot-on observation was a tweet reading, "When this game started, Kevin Spacey was a respected actor."

It's true. In less than the time it took for the Dodgers and Astros to pass the lead back and forth for 10 agonizing innings, Spacey's place in the Hollywood firmament was irrevocably altered. It started at 6:32 p.m., when Buzzfeed published Anthony Rapp's allegation that Spacey had made sexual advances toward the Rent star when he was 14 years old.

Spacey, having not responded to Buzzfeed's requests for comment before the article was first published, then somehow decided it would be a good idea to combine his apology to Rapp—in a statement, he insisted he didn't remember the incident in question and attributed whatever he was said to have done to "deeply inappropriate drunken behavior"—with the admission that he was gay. That was shared on Twitter at 9 p.m.

When Harvey Weinstein's career collapsed under the weight of a pile-up of allegations that he had been sexually harassing and assaulting women for years, his downfall unfolded within a matter of days. The rapidity with which he became persona non grata among the very crowd he lorded over for years as a co-founder of Miramax and then the Weinstein Company has only been matched by the rate at which Kevin Spacey is being swept aside like last month's Playbill.

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As Rapp told Buzzfeed—and as many women and some men have said over the past month in sharing their personal stories of being mistreated—the women who dared to be the first to come forward and call out Weinstein by name, prompting the conversation now raging about sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, had emboldened him to finally go public with his Spacey story (he had previously relayed the incident to The Advocate without naming Spacey).

And Spacey, though he may have had no shot at assuaging people's outrage anyway considering the climate in which these allegations were made, did himself no favors with how he responded. His audacity in what felt like an attempt to replace one headline with another prompted an outpouring of criticism from the gay community, which slammed him for bringing his sexual orientation into a conversation that should have been solely about whether he in fact had behaved in a predatory manner.

His coming out would have been news on any other day, albeit not necessarily surprising news, Spacey having enjoyed publicly toying with people's incessant "desire to know"—most recently doing so when he hosted the Tony Awards in June, when he made a wink-wink joke about being in the closet.

But while most people were shocked and appalled by what Anthony Rapp had to say, more notable was the fact that many people were actually not shocked. Not one bit.

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Just like the so-called open secret that was Weinstein's abhorrent treatment of women over the years, the picture of Spacey that's starting to emerge is one of someone who was also more widely known as a creep—to what degree is still a matter of discussion—than fans of The Usual SuspectsAmerican Beauty and House of Cards would want to believe.

"Anthony Rapp's story is deeply troubling," House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, who departed as showrunner after the Netflix series' fourth season, tweeted the day after the report was published. "During the time I worked on House of Cards I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off. That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously, and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage."

Since Buzzfeed published Rapp's account, four more men (including one who chose to remain anonymous) have shared stories with the site about alleged past encounters with Spacey going back decades. Additionally, CNN reported over the weekend that eight present and former staffers from HOC said that Spacey had made the set a "toxic" work environment. One former production assistant alleged that Spacey had sexually assaulted him after he had reported being harassed by the actor to a supervisor. (Spacey did not respond to a request for comment on the CNN story.)

"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," the man, whose name was not published, told CNN. "It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Netflix's first move, on Oct. 30, was to announce that the upcoming sixth season of House of Cards (season five premiered in May) would be its last. On Oct. 31, it was announced that production on season six had been suspended while Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital assessed "the current situation" and addressed any concerns the other cast and crew might have. Also on Halloween, London's Old Vic theater, where Spacey served as artistic director from 2005 until 2014, denounced the type of behavior Spacey was accused of and invited anyone who may have felt unable to raise a complaint before to please come forward.

On Nov. 1, Spacey's rep, Staci Wolfe, told E! News that the actor was "taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment." 

Spacey's longtime talent agency, CAA, and publicist Wolfe cut ties with him on Nov. 2. 

And on Nov. 3, Netflix officially showed Kevin Spacey the door.

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"Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey," Netflix said in a statement. "We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate out path forward as it relates to the show. We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey."

Gore, in which Spacey plays the late writer Gore Vidal, tells the tale of, according to IMDb, a young writer's experience meeting Vidal in Italy, during which he gets an education about "life, love and politics." The fate of the film, in post-production as Netflix says, remains unknown.

The latest hit to Spacey's short-term prospects came Monday when his next film, the Ridley Scott-directed All the Money in the World, was pulled from its scheduled Nov. 16 closing spot at AFI Fest.

"AFI FEST celebrates film as a collaborative art form," AFI said in a statement obtained by E! News. "We support Sony's decision to postpone the premiere in order to ensure the thousands of people who worked together on this film are honored at a proper time and in a proper light."

Aiden Monaghan/ALL THE MONEY US

Spacey plays billionaire J. Paul Getty in the film, which is based on a true story about the kidnapping of the oil tycoon's 16-year-old grandson J. Paul Getty III and his mother's quest to get the family patriarch to pay the ransom. Mark Wahlberg and Charlie Plummer are also among the film's stars.

"All the Money in the World is a superb film and more than worthy of its place of honor in the AFI Fest," TriStar Pictures told Deadline Monday. "But given the current allegations surrounding one of its actors and out of respect for those impacted, it would be inappropriate to celebrate at a gala at this difficult time. Accordingly, the film will be withdrawn.

"However, a film is not the work of one person," the studio continued. "There are over 800 other actors, writers, artists, craftspeople and crew who worked tirelessly and ethically on this film, some for years, including one of cinema's master directors. It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film. Accordingly, the film will open wide as planned on December 22."

TriStar Pictures

Spacey's most recent big-screen appearance came in the critical and box office hit Baby Driver. The only other film in his IMDb pipeline is the now unfortunately titled Billionaire Boys Club, currently slated for 2018 and said to be in post-production. The cast reads like a who's-who of young Hollywood, including Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Emma RobertsBillie Lourd and Suki Waterhouse, and features screen veterans Cary Elwes and Rosanna Arquette

As TriStar noted in scuttling the planned splashy premiere of All the Money in the World, a film "is not the work of one person." Nor, for that matter, is a TV show. Twitter erupted in support for the idea of House of Cards proceeding with Robin Wright's Claire Underwood solely at the helm, rid of Frank Underwood at last.


Up until just over a week ago, the award-winning show's writers and producers, let alone Netflix, weren't thinking about contingency plots. And yet it took less than a week for the house of cards upon which House of Cards was apparently teetering to collapse.

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Which indicates that some people were just waiting for someone to blow the whistle. No one knew who was going to be the one to sound the alarm, but once Anthony Rapp had done so, 12 more people (eight to CNN, four to Buzzfeed) felt emboldened enough to do the same. Wright has yet to issue any comment about her co-star of the past four years. No one, publicly, is coming forward with anything good to say.

At best this is starting to sound like yet another case of the willful ignorance that shrouded the "open secret" that was Harvey Weinstein's boorish ways for so long. (Weinstein has admitted to engaging in past behavior that had "caused a lot of pain," but has denied any and all allegations of "non-consensual sex" or career retaliation against women who rejected his advances.)

Though it seems as if way more than a month has passed since the New York Times first reported on allegations against Weinstein going back nearly 30 years, we're actually still in the middle of the infancy of this crisis-come-to-light. Hollywood's memory can be long and unforgiving...until it isn't anymore. And plenty of blind eyes have been turned to suspect behavior because the person who engaged in it was just too big to fail completely.

Weinstein, having been fired from his company, kicked out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and banned for life from the Producers Guild of America and the TV Academy, seems pretty done for as far as his future in mainstream show business goes, though he at first expressed hope for a "second chance." 

Despite having presumably been just as aware as the rest of Hollywood (and Silicon Valley, Washington, the media, etc.) of the turning of the tide, Spacey, judging by what he did with his apology statement, still sounded confident that he would be able to wriggle his way out of the allegations against him.

And if the allegations against him had come out at any other time, perhaps he would have.