In the wake of a series of sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey, London’s Old Vic has collected through an internal investigation 20 personal testimonies of inappropriate behavior perpetrated by Spacey during his time as artistic director of the theatre, from 1995 to 2013.
Of the 20 testimonies, 18 detailed alleged events occurring before 2009; in all but one, the individuals declined to come forward at the time or had asked that no formal action be taken.
Addressing the reasons as to why the situation may have escalated, the theatre company concludes that Spacey’s celebrity status, a lack of clarity surrounding the Old Vic’s code of behavior and the impact of reporting misconduct, and a divide between artistic and administrative personnel contributed to the delay in many of these allegations to come to light.
Additionally, the investigation found that members of the Old Vic staff who had observed behavior akin to the allegations did not feel compelled to respond—either because they were unclear of how, they did not consider the gravity of the situation, or were uncertain that the Old Vic would take the allegations seriously.
“I have genuine and deep sympathy for all those who have come forward and said they were hurt in some way by my predecessor’s actions,” said Artistic Director Matthew Warchus in a statement. “These allegations have been a shock and a disturbing surprise to many of us. It is incorrect, unfair and irresponsible to say that everybody knew. But as a result of the investigation, what we have learnt is how better to call out this behaviour in future.”
Charman Nick Clarry added, “To all those people who felt unable to speak up at the time, The Old Vic truly apologises. Inappropriate behaviour by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable. We will foster a safe and supportive environment without prejudice, harassment or bullying of any sort, at any level.”
Following the investigation, the Old Vic will implement a “Guardian” system throughout the company as a point of contact for individuals who would prefer not to come forward formally at first, establish a clearer set of cultural expectations, and refocus counseling and training systems.