Old Vic chief executive denies prior knowledge of Kevin Spacey allegations

Read Sally Greene's statement

The Old Vic chief executive who hired Kevin Spacey has denied having prior knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations levelled at the actor.

Sally Greene, who has led the London theatre since 1998, is said to have played an integral role in convincing Spacey to take up a role at the Lambeth venue. The two-time Oscar winner served as artistic director at the Old Vic between 2004 and 2015.

Spacey has been the subject of multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment over the past few weeks. He recently issued a statement, saying that he is “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment”.

After accusations that rumours of Spacey’s alleged misconduct were ignored by the theatre, Greene has now issued a statement, describing herself as “shocked and appalled” by the accusations.

Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey

She said that she had been “unaware of any allegations involving Kevin Spacey, or any form of sexual impropriety, whether connected to the Old Vic or not.”

“I have championed the Old Vic for 20 years and it makes me sick to my stomach to think that people may have suffered from harassment or abuse as a result of their association with the theatre,” Greene added.

Read Greene’s full statement below.

“In recent weeks a number of allegations have come to light involving Kevin Spacey that have shocked and appalled me, and everyone who works within the entertainment and arts industry. There can be no place for this kind of behaviour within this or any other industry. 

I have championed The Old Vic for twenty years, and it makes me sick to my stomach to think that people may have suffered from harassment or abuse as a result of their association with the theatre. 

Kevin Spacey worked as Artistic Director of The Old Vic theatre between 2004 and 2015. The Old Vic has commissioned external advisors to review the theatre’s involvement with him, respond to any complaints that emerge about his conduct, and identify lessons that can be learned for the future. I cannot comment on that investigation while the process is ongoing, as I am rightly not in control of the investigation and do not want to risk prejudicing its findings. 

I would like to make it clear that prior to the emergence of these recent claims, I was unaware of any allegations involving Kevin Spacey, or any form of sexual impropriety, whether connected to The Old Vic or not. 

Since the point that I led the bid to save The Old Vic from closure, in 1998, and established a charitable trust to safeguard its future, I have held the honorary and unpaid role of chief executive of the theatre. It is one of a number of roles that I perform within my wider business portfolio of arts and entertainment institutions, which occupy the majority of my time. 

As part of a wider plan to turn The Old Vic into a world-leading arts institution, I brought in Kevin Spacey as Artistic Director, in 2004. Prior to this point, I had encountered him only at industry events, and I had no knowledge whatsoever about any concerns regarding his behaviour. Had I known, I would never have appointed him. 

During Kevin Spacey’s time at The Old Vic, I was obviously pleased with the critically-acclaimed performances he put on, and appreciative of the added profile he brought to the theatre. However, our relationship was purely professional and I would not consider myself ever to have been close to him on a personal level. 

Given my wide business portfolio, in each of the venues with which I am involved, I rely on having a professional team in place, who work diligently and tirelessly to handle day-to-day management. Had anyone raised any complaints with me about inappropriate or potentially unlawful behaviour, I would have acted swiftly to address them. 

I would echo the statements issued by The Old Vic, and urge anyone who feels they have a complaint that they felt unable to raise before to come forward. 

Alongside the rest of the theatre industry, The Old Vic is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment, free from prejudice, harassment and bullying of any sort. Any behaviour that contravenes this goal will not be tolerated. 

I am also committed to reviewing processes at the other venues within my portfolio. I will continue to take an active role in ensuring that the current and next generations of artists and support staff feel safe, confident, and proud to be part of Britain’s world-leading theatre community.”

Since the allegations levelled at Spacey, Netflix has put production of House Of Cards on hold, after deciding that its upcoming sixth season would be its last.