London’s Old Vic theatre has come under fire after being accused of turning a blind eye to allegations of sexual misconduct regarding actor Kevin Spacey.
The two-time Oscar winner has been the subject of multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment over the past few days. He recently issued a statement, saying that he is “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment”.
Spacey served as artistic director at the Old Vic between 2004 and 2015. Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who acted in several plays at the famed Lambeth theatre, recently alleged that Spacey “routinely preyed” on young male actors. “There are a lot of us who have a ‘Kevin Spacey story’,” he said.
Now a former Old Vic employee has told The Guardian: “We were all involved in keeping it quiet. I witnessed him groping men many times in all sorts of different situations… He was taking advantage of the fact that he is this great icon. He touched men on the crotch. Doing it really fast so they couldn’t get out of the way.”
The individual, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “The thing that really upsets me is the hypocrisy of places like the Old Vic that pretend now that they didn’t know.”
Rebecca Gooden, a former intern at the theatre in 2010, has said she was told that “pretty” young men shouldn’t be hired because of an earlier incident. “There was a running ‘joke’ about it,” she said. “I was informed that I was not allowed to talk about it outside the theatre. I am honestly sickened that the theatre has chosen to plead ignorance.”
Earlier this week, the Old Vic set up a confidential complaints process for any individuals who wish to come forward with allegations. It said in a statement: “Inappropriate behaviour by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable. We aim to foster a safe and supportive environment without prejudice, harassment or bullying of any sort, at any level… We want our employees to feel confident, valued and proud to be part of The Old Vic family. Any behaviour we become aware of which contravenes these goals will not be tolerated.”
In a statement about the cover-up allegations, the Old Vic said that it “is not currently in a position to comment on specifics of what may have taken place in the past.” The statement added: “Since we set up this confidential line of communication, we are already seeing the great benefits of the new policy of openness and the safe sharing of information. We stand by, support and strongly encourage the industry wide culture shift that is underway.”