20 July 2023

Kevin Spacey ‘cancelled’ over untrue sexual assault claims, court told

20 July 2023

Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey was “tried by social media” and “cancelled” after he was accused of sexual assaults, a court has heard.

The 63-year-old, standing trial under his full name Kevin Spacey Fowler, is charged with nine sexual offences concerning four men which were were allegedly committed between 2001 and 2013.

The two-time Academy Award winner leaned forward in his chair in the dock and watched intently through the glass as his defence barrister Patrick Gibbs KC gave a closing speech at Southwark Crown Court in London on Thursday.

“What the defence suggests is that three people have lied and they have lied in ways and for reasons which, ultimately, will only ever be known to themselves,” said Mr Gibbs, who suggested the fourth complainant was intoxicated.

It’s not a crime to have sex with someone of the same sex because it’s 2023 not 1823

He discussed topics including “fame, shame, money and memory” and told jurors: “It’s not a crime to like sex, even if you’re famous and it’s not a crime to have sex, even if you’re famous, and it’s not a crime to have casual sex.

“And it’s not a crime to have sex with someone of the same sex because it’s 2023 not 1823.”

He challenged the Crown’s claim that there was a “pattern of similarity” between the accusers because three claim Spacey “grabbed” them by the crotch, a term Spacey previously told the court he “objected” to.

Mr Gibbs said that: “With each allegation that’s discredited, the possibility, the reality, that false allegations, even apparently convincing false allegations, really do happen.

“Especially where fame, money, sex, secrets, shame and sexual confusion are all in the mix.”

He told the jury it was “easy” to lie convincingly, especially when it is about someone such as Spacey, who he described as: “A man who is promiscuous, not publicly out, although everyone in the businesses knows he’s gay, who wants to be just a normal guy, or at least some of the time he does – to drink beer and laugh and smoke weed and sit in the front and spend time with younger people who he’s attracted to.”

He added: “It’s not my life, it’s not your life, perhaps it’s a bit of an odd life but it’s a life that makes you an easy target when the internet turns against you and you’re tried by social media.

“That’s when these claims were taken to the police, when it was, I suggest, only too easy to do and the prospects of a pay-off from the bandwagon were at their most irresistible.”

Reflecting on the evidence Spacey gave during the trial, he urged them to “filter” out his celebrity and “try to get through to the real person behind that”.

Mr Gibbs suggested jurors should dismiss as “fiction” the allegation put to them by the Crown that Spacey made a man “almost come off the road” after an alleged “painful” crotch grab as he drove the actor to a lavish showbiz party at Sir Elton John’s Windsor home in the early 2000s.

He said most of the man’s claims are “so vague” and “all happened in private” that they are “impossible to contradict” and “what you’re left with is one person’s words against another years later”.

“But he did advance one testable allegation and you have seen it tested and my submission to you about it is that it turned out to be a complete fabrication,” he added.

“It is that dramatic centrepiece of the Crown’s case about (this complainant). It is the final shocking episode. It’s the crotch grab.

“And that’s turned out on the evidence, I suggest, to be a fiction.”

He said this alleged lie was designed to “dramatise and dignify a reimagining long after the events of all that really happened between those two men”.

He added: “But the Crown now say about that allegation, well dates don’t matter, they say. And my retort is well they would say that because none of the dates they have sequentially alighted upon and invited you to be sure about work.

“Every single date has been disproven.”

He praised Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish for risking the “wrath of the internet” to be called as defence witnesses after they gave evidence via video link from Monaco on Monday.

He said they “stood up and were counted in defence of a man who was universally cancelled” and added “you need look no further for bravery that that, I submit”.

Spacey pleaded not guilty in January to three counts of indecent assault, three counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

He also previously denied four further charges of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.

A further charge of indecent assault, an alternative count, was added mid-trial – taking the total number of alleged offences listed on the indictment to 13.

On Wednesday, the four indecent assault charges, which were all alternative counts, were struck off by the judge, due to a “legal technicality” and not as a result of the prosecution abandoning any allegation.

The jury was directed to concentrate on what happened and whether it was a crime, and not be concerned with precise dates when things happened.

The trial continues.

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