Kevin Space refuses to exit, stage right.
The two-time Oscar winner’s career collapsed in 2018 following sexual assault allegations in the wake of the #MeToo revolution.
The “American Beauty” star was accused by multiple men of sexually inappropriate behavior.
Director Ridley Scott went so far as to edit Spacey out of “All the Money in the World” and replace him with Christopher Plummer (who went on to earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his last-minute work).
Netflix killed off Spacey’s Frank Underwood character in “House of Cards,” the streaming giant’s signature series.
Spacey appears to have emerged from the legal gauntlet unscathed. He’s been found not guilty in two separate cases, but Hollywood, Inc. isn’t begging him to return to work.
His latest project, a vocal appearance in the film “Control,” suffered a last-minute cancellation at London’s Prince Charles Cinema after the event’s team realized his contribution to the film.
Spacey earned a more rigorous welcome this week at an event targeting Cancel Culture.
Spacey delivered his first major stage appearance since the scandals began at a University of Oxford lecture. The actor performed a short scene from William Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens,” a turn which inspired a 40-second standing ovation.
Conservative author Douglas Murray introduced Spacey, noting what Shakespeare’s work can teach us about today’s Cancel Culture scourge.
Spacey still won’t be returning to the A-list anytime soon.
The Prince Charles Cinema kerfuffle is emblematic of his stained brand, and despite his prodigious talent many directors are likely loathe to work with the 64-year-old again.
We’ve seen other troubled actors find their way back into the industry’s good graces. Think Mel Gibson, James Franco, Dustin Hoffman, Shia LaBeouf and Casey Affleck.
James Franco to Star in Bille August’s Post-WWII Drama ‘Me, You’ https://t.co/ocbOfdVPHO
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 12, 2022
Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, a necessary cry for change, quickly became political and lost its cultural clout. Stars rallied to punish Republicans accused of sexual assault, including former President Donald Trump while looking the other way when Democrats like Joe Biden and Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced similar charges.
We recently learned that sexual misconduct is still a major issue behind the scenes in Hollywood despite modest improvement since producer Harvey Weinstein’s public downfall.
The latest WIF survey found 59 percent of respondents agreed the culture around sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct in Hollywood workplaces had improved in the year since WIF released the #MeToo-era fifth anniversary report in September 2022. At the same time, 46.2 percent of respondents said they or someone they knew had experienced abuse or misconduct while working in the entertainment industry in the last year.
The weakening of the #MeToo movement could help Spacey resume his professional career. Another factor will work to his advantage.
Many western citizens are exhausted by Cancel Culture’s overreach. They long for an advocate to attack the toxic scourge and bring sanity back to the public arena.
Could that be Spacey’s next move?
The actor may very well be guilty of some of the charges lobbed against him over the years. Sexual assault cases are difficult to prove, and multiple people have come forward in recent years to pin egregious actions on him. That’s cause for concern no matter what the courts decided.
Conservatives may prove to be Spacey’s biggest ally going forward, even though there’s little evidence he leans to the Right in any major way.
The Right loathes Cancel Culture’s overreach and embraces figures who support free speech, regardless of party affiliation. Consider how many on the Right cheer on left-leaning figures like Bill Maher, John Cleese and Rob Schneider.
Social conservatives won’t be as forgiving of Spacey’s alleged actions, and others may fear Spacey’s return to the public stage as little more than a publicity stunt.
He’s still uniquely qualified to address Cancel Culture and forgiveness, and few actors have the skills to pull off what could be the role of a lifetime.