Kevin Spacey Receives Standing Ovation During Oxford Cancel Culture Lecture

Kevin Spacey was given a standing ovation Monday night during an event addressing cancel culture in which he performed on stage for the first time since he was found not guilty of sexual assault.

The two-time Oscar-winning actor, 64, performed a five-minute scene from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens at the University of Oxford’s Sheldonian theater, after which he received rapturous applause from the audience. It comes just days after a London movie theater canceled the premiere of Spacey’s first film since his acquittal saying it was “horrified” to be associated with him.

The event in Oxford—where Spacey was once a visiting lecturer—was centered around a lecture given by New York Post columnist Douglas Murray in memory of the late conservative British philosopher Roger Scruton. Just months before his death in early 2020, Scruton had been fired from his appointment as the head of a U.K. government housing body in the wake of a controversial interview with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, which Murray later accused of being a “hit job” and “character assassination” (the magazine later apologized to Scruton and he was reinstated in his government adviser role).

Murray, who invited Spacey to perform at the event, told The Times: “It’s about what happens when a society drops a person for no reason. It’s something that has been on Kevin’s mind, as it was on Roger Scruton’s mind, so I said I want him to be back on stage in the U.K.”

In July, a jury in London found Spacey not guilty on nine counts of sexual assault. He had been accused of assaulting four men in Britain between 2001 and 2013, for most of which he’d worked as the artistic director of a West End theater, the Old Vic.

During the trial, Spacey denied all the accusations against him, calling the claims “absolute bollocks” and suggesting the men had been motivated by “money, money, and then money.”

The U.K. case followed other allegations of sexual wrongdoing against the House of Cards star. In a 2017 BuzzFeed article, actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey had made unwanted sexual advances toward him when Rapp was just 14 in 1986. Rapp sued Spacey in New York in a $40 million case, but a jury found Spacey not liable for battery in October 2022. Other charges in criminal civil cases in the U.S. have been dismissed.

Since the first allegations emerged, Spacey has not appeared in mainstream Hollywood movies. Large sections of Ridley Scott’s 2017 film All the Money in the World were reshot to remove Spacey, who had originally been cast, in the wake of the initial claims against him.

In his new film Control, Spacey does not actually appear on screen, but he provides the voice of a villain who remotely hijacks a self-driving car carrying a politician. The low-budget Welsh production was due to have its world premiere at the Prince Charles Cinema in London in November, but the movie theater pulled the plug when it found out about Spacey’s role.

“My staff as well as I are horrified that we are being mentioned in the same breath as his new film for the premiere,” Greg Lynn, who runs the movie theater, wrote one of the film’s producers in an email informing them of the cancellation, according to The Telegraph.

“The Prince Charles Cinema’s decision to censor Kevin’s latest project is beyond disappointing,” Spacey’s U.S. lawyer, Chase Scolnick, told the newspaper. “It rejects the legal process of two countries, ignores the overwhelming evidence of Kevin’s innocence, and disregards the hard work and sacrifice of dozens of impartial jurors who found Kevin 100 per cent innocent.”

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