Kevin Spacey has received a lifetime achievement award from Italy’s Museum of Cinema in Turin.
At the event, which took place on Monday (January 16), the actor spoke publicly for the first time in more than five years, during which time he has faced a number of sexual abuse allegations.
“I have been so honoured to have been part of the creative process with so many remarkable people,” Spacey said upon accepting the award, via Variety.
The American Beauty actor then went on to thank the museum “for having had ‘La Palle’ [Italian for ‘balls’] to invite me tonight.”
He also thanked the museum’s director Domenico De Gaetano, saying: “By presenting this award, they are making a strong defence of artistic achievement and for that, they should be applauded.”
Before the event, Spacey denied that he had “hidden away” since the allegations against him surfaced in 2017.
“I live my life every day, I go to restaurants, I meet people, drive, play tennis, I’ve always managed to meet generous, genuine, compassionate people,” Spacey told Italian news outlets, refusing to speak to international press.
“I haven’t hidden away, I haven’t gone to live in a cave,” he said.
Last week, new allegations were brought forward against Spacey. The actor now faces an additional seven sexual offence charges that allegedly occurred between 2001 and 2005. Spacey has denied the charges.
In October last year, a New York jury concluded that Spacey did not sexually assault actor Anthony Rapp, who had sought $40m (£36m) in damages after alleging that a then-26-year-old Spacey made an “unwanted sexual advance” towards him when he was 14.
Spacey is also facing five separate charges of sexual assault in the UK, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He is due to go on trial in June.
The allegations relate to three men across London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013 when Spacey was artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London.
The actor previously denied the charges in a statement on ABC’s Good Morning America, saying: “I very much appreciate the Crown Prosecution Service’s statement in which they carefully reminded the media and the public that I am entitled to a fair trial, and innocent until proven otherwise.
“While I am disappointed with their decision to move forward, I will voluntarily appear in the UK as soon as can be arranged and defend myself against these charges, which I am confident will prove my innocence.”