The Spacey Fightback

by Sean Bw Parker (June 2024)

Kevin Spacey —Sean Bw Parker, 2024


In a post on X, Kevin Spacey announced ‘I will no longer be speechless.’ This accompanied an interview with journalist Dan Wootton, which was itself a counter-move to a new Channel 4 documentary, Kevin Spacey Unmasked. Spacey had been twice exonerated in both US and UK courts on sexual assault charges against a handful of men, but the new documentary contained allegations going back 50 years.

These were not of the ‘violent rape, torture and murder of young boys’ variety concocted by fantasist false accuser Carl ‘Nick’ Beech, imprisoned for 18 years on multiple counts of perverting the course of justice a couple of years previously. They were more in the ‘stroked thigh, clumsy approach’ genre, seemingly more common the further the #MeToo movement faded into history.

In the Wootton interview, as in the British trial, Spacey was honest and open about his ‘in the closet’ past, drunken approaches, and ‘persistence.’ But as false allegations industry critic Jonathan King has pointed out in his A Victim Bites Back You Tube series, when now does persistence and persuasion become harassment and assault? It appears increasingly to be for the broadcasters and court of social media to decide, and the main offence has become being famous.

We need only check notes to find details of both Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein’s legal exonerations, grudgingly mentioned in the press, the implication being that it is the courts committing the sin rather than the potentially gross exaggerations of allegations. That the Weinstein trials have made casting couch culture a thing of the past is good news for the integrity of the much-loved craft of movie-making. That it led to a deluge of spurious allegations, money-hunting, the related Depp-Heard trial and long-tail of MeToo—i.e. deep distrust between the sexes—is moot to the point of being beyond discussion in an activist-led, partisan press.

Dan Wootton was cancelled himself after chuckling along with guest Laurence Fox when the latter said he ‘wouldn’t shag that’ in reference to an online spat with journalist Ava Santina (who had on a TV show expressed indifference to chronic rates of male suicide). GB News eventually fired Wootton after suspending him for months—but as his own comeback X post said, ‘I’m not that easily cancelled’ —shortly before hosting a string of high profile victims of false or exaggerated accusations.

Russell Brand had shown the way in indifference to mass-media pile-on some months before, when the Sunday Times and Channel 4 colluded on another documentary and about two weeks worth of front covers about Brand’s former sexual behaviour—back when C4 positively encouraged it. Since then. Brand had cleaned up, became a political truther and got baptised, but none of that staunched his (multi-million reach) contempt for a collusive media which had put investigating behind it in favour of instant moral judgment in line with culture war stance.

Cosby is now very old, Weinstein is still in prison due to an as-yet non-overturned conviction, Depp is being quietly gentlemanly in victory; but Spacey, having ‘lost everything,’ is determined to be quiet no longer. One of the tragedies of all this, as he and Wootton discussed, is that not even apology for something you haven’t done works any more—the judgment and profit is held in the algorithms, which are amoral and care not for human sympathy.

(Good) acting is a gift, and Spacey is truly gifted, he’s proven that to the world many times. He is hardly alone in having a messy past personal life, but he is he first to come back fighting following attempted career destruction in quite such an eloquent way. The war in the media is between socio-political stance (woke or anti-woke) and clicks and shares profits.

That is actually where the morality lies, not whether Spacey clumsily propositioned a young actor in 1978—but historically right-on Channel 4, fighting for its own life, seems happier to throw its own professional integrity on to the post-MeToo fire.


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Sean Bw Parker is a British writer, artist and musician, born in Exeter in 1975. He gained a Masters degree in Fine Art from the University for the Creative Arts in 2003, following which he lived in Istanbul for ten years until 2014 where he gave TEDx talk ‘Stammering and Creativity,’ and also lectured at Istanbul University. He has published several books, poems, albums and paintings, won a number of Koestler Arts awards and a Perrie Lectures essay award.

He has been published by the Westminster Commission, T.S. Eliot Foundation, Time Out Istanbul, Louder Than War, and appeared at the Brighton Science Festival, the University of Bristol, BIMM and others. He has interviewed Julie Burchill, Ed Harcourt, Kristin Hersh, Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds and Sarah Blackwood of Dubstar, hosted shows by The Members, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and Eat Static at his Seafish music and arts venue in 2016, and was interviewed for a Sky Arts documentary in the same year. He curated the Chi-Signs, Blakefest and Wildefest mini-festivals between 2015 and 2017, and has been involved with numerous other exhibitions and live events.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


One Response

  1. Agreed. Character should never trump talent – especially in Hollywood, the performing arts, or the BBC. Channel 4, isn’t that Jonathan Willoughby’s pulpit. GLWT

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