LONDON (AP) — Kevin Spacey denied that grabbing men by the crotch was his “trademark” pickup move as he became testy under questioning Friday by the prosecutor at his sexual assault trial in a London courtroom.
In a heated exchange that required intervention by the judge, Spacey was asked about allegations he aggressively grabbed a man backstage at a charity event in a theater.
“Absolute bollocks!” Spacey replied to titters from the gallery in the packed courtroom.
“Yes, because that’s exactly where you did grab him, isn’t it?” Prosecutor Christine Agnew snapped back.
“Really?” Spacey said as he looked up in disbelief at Justice Mark Wall. “Did he accuse me of grabbing his bollocks?”
Someone said, “Yes,” and Wall told him to answer the prosecutor’s question.
“I did not,” Spacey said.
The two-time Oscar winner stuck to his testimony from a day earlier in which he insisted he never sexually assaulted three of the four accusers who alleged disturbing encounters between 2001 and 2013 that escalated from unwanted touching to aggressive fondling.
He dismissed one man’s claims as “pure fantasy” and said he shared consensual encounters with two others who later regretted it. He accepted the crotch-grabbing allegations by a fourth man, saying he had made a “clumsy pass” during a night of heavy drinking.
Spacey was irritable at moments and laughed off other questions in his final chance to win over jurors in a case that could affect whether he’s able to make a comeback after sexual misconduct accusations derailed his once-stellar career.
The 63-year-old American, who is identified in court by his full name, Kevin Spacey Fowler, has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges that include sexual and indecent assault counts and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. He could face a prison term if convicted.
Spacey rarely looked at Agnew as the two sparred, directing his gaze at the jury in Southwark Crown Court but without his glasses on. She pressed him on each of the allegations, asserting that the men who testified against him had been telling the truth and Spacey insisting they lied.
Agnew said Spacey was not just the “big flirt” he claimed to be but also a “big sexual bully.”
“That’s your term,” Spacey countered.
Agnew suggested Spacey had been turned on sitting next to a man in a theater during a rehearsal for a charity event. She said he decided to “go for it” later when alone backstage in a genital grab the man described like a striking cobra.
“You’re just making stuff up now,” Spacey said.
When asked why the man would lie, Spacey said: “Money, money and then money.”
Two of the men have filed lawsuits against him.
Spacey said that being a celebrity would have made it easy to have “sex all the time” but he found it hard to trust people and that led to periods of loneliness.
“Did you then reach out to people sexually in order to ease that burden?” Agnew asked.
“Welcome to life,” Spacey replied. “Yes, yes I did.”
Spacey said he had been promiscuous at times, adding: “It doesn’t make me a bad person.”
If he was hooking up with someone, he said reaching for their groin would be an inappropriate first move.
He objected to the term “crotch-grabbing” to describe what he had done in the instance when he said he misread the signs from a man he had met at a pub.
“I would say in my estimate it is not a grab, not a grope,” he said of what he had done. “It is a gentle touch.”
“The fact of the matter is, Mr. Spacey Fowler, that this is your MO,” Agnew said bluntly.
The alleged victims all said they only came forward after allegations against Spacey surfaced in the United States in 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum.
Agnew said Spacey had taken advantage of his powerful status as “essentially the golden boy of the London theater scene” and knew that his victims weren’t likely to speak up against him.
Spacey said he had only used his position to restore the Old Vic Theatre, where he served as artistic director for a decade, to its former glory.
“I didn’t have a power wand that I waved in front of people’s faces whenever I wanted someone to go to bed with me,” he said.
When asked about the most serious charge he faces, based on allegations he performed oral sex on an aspiring actor who had fallen asleep or passed out on his sofa, Agnew challenged Spacey’s account that the encounter had been consensual and romantic.
She questioned Spacey’s explanation that he phoned the man out of concern after he hurried out of his apartment. Agnew suggested the man was, in fact, unconscious when the call was made, indicating it was mistake or a pocket dial.
“That’s your theory,” Spacey said.
“That’s the prosecution case,” Agnew replied.
“And it’s a weak one!” he retorted.