LONDON — Actor Kevin Spacey returned to London and entered Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday — through a crush of photographers — to face sexual assault charges.
The 62-year-old American looked calm, and even smiled, as he made his way to the courthouse doors.
Spacey faces five counts of sexual assault, including one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
Inside the chamber, one of Spacey’s attorneys, Patrick Gibbs, told the court, “Mr. Spacey strenuously denies any and all criminality in this case.”
The charges concern three men, now in their 30s and 40s, and refer to alleged crimes that took place in London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013, at a time when Spacey served as artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London.
Spacey appeared in the dock wearing a light-blue suit, white shirt and dotted tie, according to the Press Association reporter in the courtroom.
The charges were read out to him. Spacey was asked if he wanted to be addressed by his full name Kevin Spacey Fowler, and the actor indicated it did not matter to him.
He was not asked to enter a plea, as the proceedings on Thursday were just the beginning of the process. He was granted unconditional bail and told to return to Southwark Crown Court on July 14.
Spacey was first accused of sexual misconduct in October 2017 by actor Anthony Rapp, who told BuzzFeed News that Spacey made a sexual advance toward him at a party in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.
After the article’s publication, Spacey issued a statement on social media saying he did not recall the encounter, but that “if I did behave then as [Rapp] describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
In the same statement, Spacey said the article inspired him to publicly come out as gay.
More than a dozen others subsequently came forward with allegations against Spacey, some of which resulted in legal action. Prosecutors in Los Angeles and London launched investigations in late 2018. The Los Angeles investigation did not move forward because the alleged incident fell outside the statute of limitations.
Soon after, Spacey was charged in Massachusetts with one count of indecent assault and battery against an 18-year-old man in Nantucket. He pleaded not guilty in January 2019, six months before prosecutors dropped the case “due to the unavailability of the complaining witness.”
A lawsuit brought against Spacey in early 2018 by a massage therapist accusing him of sexual assault was also dropped in December 2019 following the death of the therapist.
Spacey, who won Academy Awards for his performances in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” starred as ruthless politician Frank Underwood in the Netflix series “House of Cards” when the allegations against him first surfaced.
The actor was also edited out of Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World” in November 2017 — just a month before its scheduled theatrical run — and replaced in reshoots with Christopher Plummer.
Spacey has not appeared in any releases since, aside from YouTube videos he posted each Christmas Eve from 2018 to 2020 (in which, at times, he speaks in character as Underwood). But he starred in two projects with distribution rights for sale at the recent Cannes Film Festival: Michael Zaiko Hall’s “Peter Five Eight” and Péter Soós’ “Gateway to the West.” According to IMDb, he has two other films in the works as well.
Rao reported from Washington.