In a 10-minute video that was posted to YouTube just over a month ago but has resurfaced this week on The Wrap, the disgraced Oscar-winning actor actually compares his banishment from Hollywood over multiple sexual-assault allegations to the plight of the millions who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking from home to a German business conference called Bits & Pretzels, Spacey delivered a quick joke about his Oktoberfest-inspired get-up before turning to the more “serious” matter of “what it feels like to suddenly find yourself in a situation you could not possibly have prepared for or anticipating was coming.”
“I don’t think it will come as a surprise for anyone that my world completely changed in the fall of 2017,” Spacey said. “My job, many of my relationships, my standing in my own industry were all gone in just a matter of hours.” He explained that he does not like to tell people that he can “relate” to their situation for fear that it will “undermine” their own “unique and very personal experience.” But then he did just that.
“But in this instance, I feel as though I can relate to what it feels like to have your world suddenly stop,” he said. “And so while we may have found ourselves in similar situations, albeit for very different reasons and circumstances, I still believe that some of the emotional struggles are very much the same. And so I do have empathy for what it feels like to suddenly be told that you can’t go back to work, or that you might lose your job. And that it’s a situation you have absolutely no control over.”
Before the accusations—many of which came from men who were underage at the time of the alleged assaults—came to light at the height of the #MeToo movement in 2017, Spacey delivered the keynote address, in person in Munich, at this same conference in 2016.
Over the course of his talk this year, Spacey attempted an inspiring message about perseverance. But he kept returning to his own plight. “I was so busy defining myself by what I did or what I was trying to do that when it all stopped, I had no idea what to do next,” he said. When his career came to a “grinding, screeching halt,” Spacey says he asked himself, “If I can’t act, who am I?”
At no point in his speech did Spacey acknowledge the allegations against him or apologize to anyone he may have wronged. He did, however, inadvertently invoke the popular mantra that has been used to comfort members of the LGBTQ community who face discrimination and abuse.
“As bleak and as horrible as things can be and can look, as they did for me two years ago and as they might look for you right now,” Spacey said, “they will get better.”