London’s Old Vic Theatre said Thursday it has received 20 allegations of inappropriate behavior by its former artistic director Kevin Spacey, and acknowledged that a “cult of personality” around the Hollywood star had made it difficult for people to come forward.
The London theater launched an investigation into Spacey last month after claims of sexual harassment emerged in the United States. Spacey, 58, led the Old Vic between 2004 and 2015.
The Old Vic said it had received 20 allegations of “a range of inappropriate behavior,” from actions that made people feel uncomfortable to “sexually inappropriate” touching.
All the alleged victims are young men, none under 18 years old. The reported incidents took place between 1995 and 2013, many of them at the Old Vic, and all but four of the alleged victims are former staff of the theater.
In all but one case, the complainants say they didn’t report them at the time. One man says he reported an incident to his manager, who didn’t act on the information.
The Old Vic said it had encouraged 14 of the complainants to go to police, but couldn’t confirm whether any had done so.
The theater said Spacey’s “star power” contributed to an atmosphere in which staff “didn’t feel confident that the Old Vic would take those allegations seriously, given who he was.”
“During his tenure, The Old Vic was in a unique position of having a Hollywood star at the helm around whom existed a cult of personality,” the theater said in a statement. “The investigation found that his stardom and status at The Old Vic may have prevented people, and in particular junior staff or young actors, from feeling that they could speak up or raise a hand for help.”