Kevin Spacey compares career downfall to coronavirus effect on business: 'I can relate to what it feels like to have your world suddenly stop'

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Actor Kevin Spacey has opened up about his swift downfall in a talk about the effects of the coronavirus on business.

“I don’t think it will come as a surprise for anyone to say that my world completely changed in the fall of 2017,” Spacey said on an April episode of the podcast Bits and Pretzels. “My job, many of my relationships, my standing in my own industry were all gone in just a matter of hours. I don’t often like to tell people that I can relate to their situation, because I think it undermines the experience they may be having, which is their own unique and very personal experience, but in this instance, I feel as though I can relate to what it feels like to have your world suddenly stop.”

Kevin Spacey appears on a virtual edition of the "Bits and Pretzels" podcast. (Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images)

In Spacey’s case, more than a dozen men came forward in late 2017 with accusations that he’d sexually harassed, or assaulted them, many of them when they were teenagers. Within days, the two-time Oscar winner’s longtime agency, the team behind his popular show House of Cards, and many others cut ties with him. He faced criminal charges in Nantucket, Mass., last year for allegedly assaulting one of the teens at a bar in 2016, but prosecutors dropped the charges in July. Spacey had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and he’d given a statement after the first allegations that he was seeking “evaluation and treatment.”

While speaking with Bits and Pretzels, Spacey said the abrupt end to his career devastated him. He advised people dealing with their own career disruption because of the coronavirus to use that free time to work on themselves. That’s what he’s doing, he said.

“When my career came to a grinding, screeching halt, when I was faced with the uncertainty that I might never be hired as an actor again, I had to ask myself a question I had never asked myself before, which is, if I can’t act, who am I?” Spacey said. “I mean, I’d only ever valued myself through my work. I’d only defined myself through my work. That’s who I was, but if that wasn’t going to be a possibility anymore, then who am I when all I am left with is just me? It’s not something I ever thought I’d have to contemplate. So this is some of the work that I have been trying to do.”

Kevin Spacey pictured leaving a Massachusetts court after his arraignment in 2016. (Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

He assured others that they would get through this tough time.

“As bleak and as horrible as these days can be, as they did for me two years ago and as they might look for you right now, it will get better,” Spacey said. “No doubt, your questions will be different than mine and they will change over time because it’s a process. And I’m still in my process, but this is a process that has allowed me to ask other questions I’ve never asked, have conversations I’ve never had, delve into issues I’ve long avoided, face truths I’ve kept hidden and confront traumas I had always denied.”

Social media called out Spacey for equating his own experience with what others are going through during the coronavirus pandemic.

Spacey said he’s had some support.

“If I didn’t have someone checking in on me every day, I’m not sure how I could’ve gotten through the first day, let alone this day,” he said.

He still has fans, too. The American Beauty star said he’d received a later the week before from someone asking for an autograph on that movie’s poster, and he took special notice of the words “look closer” that appear on it.

Spacey’s last role was in the movie Billionaire Boys Club, which tanked at a limited number of theaters in August 2018. His movie Gore, a biopic about writer Gore Vidal, wrapped a few weeks before the first allegations against Spacey were made public and has been shelved indefinitely, partly because it depicts sex scenes between Spacey’s character and “very young men.”

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