Kevin Spacey performs at a Baltimore jazz club while awaiting sexual misconduct trial in London
Author: Ed Gunts
A jazz club audience in Baltimore got a surprise last month when actor Kevin Spacey took the stage and sang covers of two Frank Sinatra standards in a performance that wasn’t previously announced.
Spacey, 63, was introduced by pianist Monty Alexander, the scheduled performer, at the Keystone Korner Baltimore jazz club and restaurant on March 19.
It was a rare public appearance for the actor, also known as Kevin Spacey Fowler, who has kept a low profile since taking up residence in Baltimore several years ago — and who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men in the United States and Great Britain since 2017.
Spacey is currently awaiting trial in Great Britain for a case involving 12 sex offense charges made by four men there.
A two-time Academy Award winner, he is also getting movie roles again, with at least three films either released or in various stages of development since the first sexual misconduct charges surfaced in 2017.
Spacey came out as gay in 2017, as part of a response on Twitter to sexual misconduct allegations made by American actor Anthony Rapp at the height of the #metoo movement that year.
He has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the charges he has faced and has not been convicted of any crimes. He has been allowed by the Crown Protective Service in Great Britain to travel to the U. S. and other countries while awaiting his trial in June.
“Mr. Kevin Spacey, the famous actor, did sit in and sing a few tunes with his dear long-time friend Monty Alexander during the second (7:30) set on Sunday night,” confirmed Baltimore club co-owner Todd Barkan, in an email message after the show.
“Kevin is a permanent resident of Baltimore and he is also a professional singer and avid jazz fan who regularly attends shows at the Keystone Korner Baltimore,” Barkan said. “The songs that Kevin sang with Monty were done as a tribute to their mutual friend, Frank Sinatra: Send in the Clowns and Angel Eyes.” Barkan called it a “very special occasion.”
Spacey lives in one of the Pier Homes at Harborview, a gated waterfront community overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The dwelling was purchased by his manager through a limited liability company in 2017, while Spacey was starring as Frank Underwood in “House of Cards,” a Netflix series that was filmed in and around Baltimore.
The Academy Awards Spacey received were for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “The Usual Suspects” (1995) and Best Actor in a Leading Role for “American Beauty” (1999). His other notable films include “L. A. Confidential,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Se7en,” “Pay It Forward,” and “Beyond the Sea.”
In the U. S., the accusations against Spacey – all now either dismissed or dropped – were made by men in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and California, and ranged from groping and fondling to battery and molestation. Many of the cases in Great Britain came from men who say the incidents occurred when Spacey was artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London, between 2004 and 2015.
One of the first formal complaints was from Rapp, who accused Spacey in October 2017 of making an unwanted sexual advance toward him at a party in Spacey’s New York apartment in 1986, when he was 14 and Spacey was 26.
“Mr. Rapp claims that Mr. Fowler lifted him up, that Mr. Fowler’s hand ‘grazed’ Mr. Rapp’s clothed buttock for a second as he did so, that Mr. Fowler placed Mr. Rapp back down on a bed, and Mr. Fowler then briefly placed his own clothed body partially beside and partially across Mr. Rapp’s,” according to a summary of the allegation written by U. S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan. “Mr. Rapp ‘wriggled out,’ got up and left the premises,” the judge wrote.
“He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold,” Rapp told BuzzFeed News in 2017. “But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me. He was trying to seduce me…I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”
Rapp informed the court that he suffered emotional distress and psychological injuries from the incident, and that he decided to file a complaint after the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal. But last fall, jurors in a $40 million civil trial found that Rapp didn’t prove his claims of battery and molestation, and the case was dismissed.
In another U. S. case, former Boston TV news anchor Heather Unruh held a news conference in November 2017 to accuse Spacey of groping the genitals of her then-18-year-old son at the Club Car bar and restaurant in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The case was dropped in 2019 after Unruh’s son refused to testify in court when asked about a “lost smartphone” that may have contained information about the incident, according to The Boston Herald. A third suit, filed in 2019, was dismissed after the plaintiff died.
In Great Britain, the pending charges against Spacey consisted before last fall of four counts of sexual assault against three men between 2005 and 2013 and one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.” The alleged incidents took place in London and Gloucestershire, and the alleged victims are now in their 30s and 40s. Spacey has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all counts.
Last November, the Crown Protective Service authorized an additional seven charges against Spacey, all related to one accuser, stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred between 2001 and 2004. Those charges have been added to the other five counts to be considered in London in one consolidated case.
The London trial is scheduled to start June 6 and last three to four weeks. It’s expected to get widespread press coverage, the way the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard “wife-beater” libel trial did in London in 2020.
In response to Rapp’s 2017 complaint, Spacey posted a statement on Twitter saying he was “beyond horrified” to hear the accusation. He insisted that he didn’t remember the incident but apologized to Rapp.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor,” he tweeted on October 30, 2017. “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Spacey came out as gay in that same statement.
“This story has encouraged me to address other things in my life,” Spacey wrote. “I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose to live now as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”
Spacey’s statement drew backlash from some gay rights advocates and LGBTQ+ celebrities for what they considered to be falsely conflating homosexuality with pedophilia in an effort to draw attention from Rapp’s accusation.
“u don’t remember the incident – 30 years ago?” out celebrity Rosie O’Donnell responded to Spacey’s statement. “fuck u kevin – like Harvey we all know about u – I hope more men come forward.”
Asked on Twitter why no one said anything if they knew about Spacey, O’Donnell responded: “no one knew it was kids…except for the ones he abused.”
“No no no no no! You do not get to ‘choose’ to hide under the rainbow!” said out comedian Wanda Sykes.
“That Kevin Spacey statement. Nope. Absolutely not. Nope,” said out comedian Billy Eichner.
The accusations had a chilling effect on Spacey’s acting career. Netflix dropped Spacey from the “House of Cards” series in 2017 and cancelled the Gore Vidal biographical film, “Gore,” in which he was going to star. Christopher Plummer replaced him in the role of J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World” shortly before its release the same year. His publicist, Staci Wolfe, and his talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, ended their relationships with him.
In 2021, Spacey landed his first movie role since the sexual misconduct allegations surfaced, playing a police officer in an Italian film called “L’uomo Che Disegno Dio,” or “The Man Who Drew God.”
Directed by Franco Nero, 81, and co-starring Nero and Faye Dunaway, 82, the film and an accompanying soundtrack album were released last month in Italy. An American release date for “The Man Who Drew God” has not been announced.
In January, Spacey traveled to Italy to accept a lifetime achievement award from the National Museum of Cinema in Turin and gave a speech thanking the museum’s leaders for having “the guts” to honor him.
At the Cannes Film Festival last year, producers were shopping two other films in which Spacey would star. According to Variety, they were: “Peter Five Eight,” with Spacey as “a charismatic yet mysterious man who arrives to a mountainside town with a mission,” and “1242: Gateway to the West,” a historical drama “about a holy man who attempts to stop Genghis Khan’s army from invading Europe.”
Spacey has since dropped out of “1242” and been replaced by actor Ray Stevenson, but “Peter Five Eight” has a release date of July 13, 2023, according to IMDB and others. It co-stars Rebecca De Mornay, Jet Jandreau and Jake Weber, and its producers have said they stand by the actor.
“There are those who wish for him not to act, but they are outnumbered by his fans worldwide who await an artist they have enjoyed for decades returning to the screen,” the producers said in a statement at Cannes last year, according to Variety. “The production has no knowledge or comment on the various swirling allegations, and believe it’s a matter for the courts to determine validity if it exists.”
Spacey has also booked a voice role in a British indie thriller called “Control,” from Cupsogue Pictures. It will be written and directed by Gene Fallaize, according to Variety, which likened Spacey’s role to the one Kiefer Sutherland had in the 2002 film, “Phone Booth.” Laurie Metcalfe and Mark Hampton have also been cast in the film.
Fallaize told Variety in November that he grew up watching Spacey as a film fan and wrote the script for “Control” with him in mind.
“He’s one of the greatest actors of our generation,” Fallaize said. “His personal life aside – it’s something I can’t comment on and have no knowledge of — it’s an opportunity to work with one of the acting greats.”
Since moving to Baltimore, Spacey hasn’t been completely absent from public life. When newspaper photographers were staking out his harborfront residence before a scheduled court appearance in late 2018, Spacey brought them a pizza and wished them Happy New Year.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020, he taped Christmas Eve videos for his fans and posted them on social media. His 2018 video “Let Me Be Frank,” in which he spoke in character as Frank Underwood and appeared to deny the real-life allegations against him, reportedly got more than 13 million views.
Although he’s well known for his movie and TV roles, Spacey is able to go around Baltimore “mostly unnoticed,” according to an article last year in The Baltimore Banner.
“He’s occasionally recognized passing through the Inner Harbor, at the restaurant of the Sagamore Pendry hotel in Fells Point and, in the mornings, walking his dog, Boston, in Locust Point,” according to Banner reporter Tim Prudente.
“On the streets, Spacey wears a hat pulled low and sunglasses. He keeps the shades drawn to his home,” Prudente noted. He has “a tremendous bond” with his pet, Prudente quoted Spacey’s veterinarian as saying.
An audience member at the Keystone Korner show said in an email message that Spacey took the stage partway through Alexander’s performance.
“He was a bit off key but he sort of imitated Sinatra’s style and swagger,” the audience member said of Spacey. “He wore a dark blue suit and tie appropriate to an old 33LP album cover by Sinatra.”
The audience member said Spacey was accompanied by Alexander, 78, and other members of Alexander’s trio. He said Spacey got “enthusiastic applause,” after which Alexander’s trio played several more songs.
On social media, reaction to Spacey’s appearance ran the gamut from support to disgust. Some commenters expressed disappointment that Keystone Korner gave Spacey a platform, while others said they were sorry they missed the show.
“Ugh — shouldn’t he be in jail?” one commenter asked. “I would have walked out.”
“I think you have to actually be convicted of a crime,” said another.
“He’s a wonderful actor. It’s pretty cool that he came to Baltimore,” a third said.
Spacey did not respond to a request for comment about his jazz club performance. Barkan did not say when he might perform again at Keystone Korner.
Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Ed Gunts