'House of Cards' former employee says Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted him on set

The Kevin Spacey fallout continues as accusations accumulate following actor Anthony Rapp's allegations that Spacey sexually harassed him when he was 14.

On Thursday, another anonymous accuser told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him on the set of House of Cards.

Also Thursday, a new anonymous accuser came forward to describe to Vulture how he began a sexual relationship with Spacey in 1983 when he was 14 and Spacey was 24, and that it ended when Spacey allegedly attempted to rape him. He said he believes Spacey is a "pedophile." 

Spacey has not yet responded to USA TODAY's request for a comment on these new accusations. On Thursday, Spacey's publicist Staci Wolfe confirmed to USA TODAY that she was no longer working with the actor.

Here are the latest developments:

'House of Cards' ex-employee says Spacey sexually assaulted him

A former production assistant on Netflix's House of Cards told CNN Thursday that Spacey sexually assaulted him on the set during an early season. CNN cited a group of eight anonymous employees and former employees who asserted that Spacey made the set a "toxic" work environment through a pattern of sexual harassment of young male crew members. 

The unidentified production assistant alleges that Spacey put his hand down the assistant's pants while Spacey was driving them to the Baltimore-area set. The assistant said the touching was non-consensual. 

"I was in a state of shock," he said. "(Spacey) was a man in a very powerful position on the show and I was someone very low on the totem pole and on the food chain there." 

Later, in the actor's trailer, the assistant said Spacey cornered him, blocked his exit and made inappropriate contact. When the assistant objected, Spacey became "visibly flustered," fled the trailer, got in his car and left for the remainder of the day.

"I have no doubt that this type of predatory behavior was routine for him and that my experience was one of many and that Kevin had few if any qualms about exploiting his status and position," the assistant said. "It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors."

CNN also talked to some of those men who said Spacey harassed or touched them in inappropriate or uncomfortable ways on the set but none of them felt able to call out the star, an executive producer on the show, at the time. 

The show has been suspended in light of the mounting allegations against Spacey. Karen Barragan, a spokeswoman for Netflix, sent a statement to USA TODAY from Media Rights Capital, the production company: 

“We are deeply troubled to learn about these new allegations that are being made to the press concerning Kevin Spacey’s interaction with members of the crew of House of Cards," the statement said. "As the producer of the show, creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our cast and crew has always been our top priority."

The production company insists employees were urged to come forward with complaints "without fear of retaliation." During the first year of House of Cards production in 2012, a crew member complained "about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey."  

"Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved," the production company statement said. "Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey."

On Tuesday, the production company installed an anonymous complaint hotline with crisis counselors and sexual harassment legal advisers for the crew.

"MRC will continue to thoroughly investigate all current claims and any new claims that are formally brought to our attention, and will continue to monitor our own production and practices to ensure that our cast and crew feel safe and supported," the statement said.

The Netflix statement said that the studio was aware of one incident against Spacey "five years ago that we were informed was resolved swiftly."

"Netflix is not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set," the statement continued. "We continue to collaborate with MRC and other production partners to maintain a safe and respectful working environment. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the production, and have nothing further to share at this time.” 

New accuser: Spacey is a "pedophile" 

In what could be the most explosive accusation against Spacey so far, an anonymous 48-year-old New York artist told Vulture on Thursday that he believes Spacey is a "pedophile." He said he began a sexual relationship with Spacey in 1983 when he was a 14-year-old child actor, that it continued until he was 15, and only ended when, he says, Spacey attempted to rape him at his Manhattan apartment.

"I always have said, 'He tried to rape me.' I told him I didn’t want (anal sex), he went again to do it, I told him no, he went again and pushed harder and grabbed me and pushed harder," the accuser said. "I don’t know how I would see that as anything besides an attempted rape, which I was able to thwart."

He never saw Spacey again after that but spoke to him by phone about a year later. He never told his parents about the alleged encounter. 

"But then I remember talking to my friends in my early 20s about it, as (Spacey) started to get prizes and be in plays and later win a Tony," he said. "In the late ’80s, I remember seeing him in the movie Heartburn, playing the thief, and this rage that he was rising up in the world and that I was going to have to look at this person for the rest of my life."

Vulture, which said it managed to verify much of the accuser's story, said Spacey's lawyer told the publication in an email that Spacey "absolutely denies" the allegations. USA TODAY has not independently confirmed the veracity of Vulture's report. Spacey's publicist did not return a message from USA TODAY.

The accuser came forward because he was angry about how Spacey responded to Rapp's accusation and because he felt "low-level guilt" knowing that adults who seek sex with children often "repeat offend."

"He's a pedophile. I would call him that to his face. I would call him a pedophile and a sexual predator," the accuser said. "When you look at his statement (in response to Rapp's accusations), you realize also he’s profoundly narcissistic. He thinks this is about being caught that he’s gay."  

The accuser said he's since researched the psychology of pedophilia and talked to psychologists about it.

"I know that pedophilia is a sexuality, like homosexuality. You can’t necessarily — you can’t be cured of it. It is in your brain. You can become someone who does not act on those impulses, but the understanding in the psychological community is … that’s your sexuality. That’s what you’re stuck with." 

The accuser said he met Spacey when he was 12 and Spacey was a guest teacher at a weekend acting class he took in Westchester County. He bumped into him two years later in Central Park; the next day, he called Spacey, who told him he was "in love" with him and asked him over. The accuser said they began a sexual relationship during that first visit.

By way of background, the accuser said he had been sexually active since he was 13 and he was in a sexual relationship at the same time with a male cousin who was 10 years older. At the time, he said he would have described these relationships as consensual. But now he knows different, and he struggles with what he fears may have been his own complicity.

"Every time I’ve ever told the story, I am compelled to tell people how seductive I was towards these men," he said. "I’m compelled to tell people how much I wanted these things because some very deep part of me feels like it’s lying if I don’t say that."

After Rapp came forward, he was compelled to speak up.

"The low-level guilt that I’ve kind of carried all this time of knowing, in my brain, that these people repeat offend. They don’t stop. It’s never one and done," he said. "Pedophiles, sexual predators, that’s part of it. So knowing full well that he was continuing to do this, that he was out there at large, has made me feel ashamed." 

​​​​​​Guardian report says Old Vic knew of Spacey's alleged behavior

Actors and former staff at the not-for-profit theater where Spacey served as artistic director from 2004 to 2015 have accused the theater of ignoring inappropriate sexual behavior by Spacey, according to a report from The Guardian published Thursday.

Writers Mark Brown and Matthew Weaver claim, "A number of people who have worked at the theatre in London have contacted the Guardian claiming it was well known that Spacey groped and behaved in an inappropriate way with young men at the time."

A former employee of the independent theater, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news outlet he witnessed Spacey grope men numerous times, including at the theatre, and he and others were involved in keeping the alleged behavior under wraps.

More: Kevin Spacey scandal: 'This Is Us' cuts Spacey reference, 'House of Cards' suspends production

More: Dustin Hoffman apologizes for alleged 1985 sexual-harassment incident

 

The Guardian also reports that Rebecca Gooden, a former intern, claimed she was informed attractive young men could not be employed in the administration as a result of a previous incident.

“There was a running ‘joke’ about it,” she told the Guardian. “I was informed that I was not allowed to talk about it outside the theatre. I am honestly sickened that the theatre has chosen to plead ignorance.”

In an emailed statement to USA TODAY on Thursday, theater spokeswoman Amy Dowd says The Old Vic is not in "a position to comment on specifics of what may have taken place in the past."

Instead, she reiterated that the theater has set up an email address (confidential@oldvictheatre.com) to field complaints from "anyone who has concerns about the inappropriate behavior of Kevin Spacey at The Old Vic."

"Since we set up this confidential line of communication, we are already seeing the great benefits of the new policy of openness and the safe sharing of information," the statement said. "We stand by, support and strongly encourage the industry-wide culture shift that is underway."

The email service was announced Tuesday in a statement posted to the theater's website. At the time, The Old Vic said it was "deeply dismayed" by the allegations against Spacey and also condemned "inappropriate behavior" in general.

"We want our employees to feel confident, valued and proud to be part of The Old Vic family," the statement reads. "Any behavior we become aware of which contravenes these goals will not be tolerated."

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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