Sharon Stone and Liam Neeson demand Kevin Spacey be allowed to resume Hollywood career

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey was cleared by courts in both the UK and the US of allegations of sexual assault - TIM CLARKE FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Kevin Spacey must be allowed to resume his Hollywood acting career after being wrongly cancelled for seven years, leading stars including Sharon Stone and Liam Neeson have told The Telegraph.

In a series of statements issued to this newspaper, the A-list celebrities have come out publicly for the first time to insist the continuing witch hunt against Spacey must now end.

The two-time Oscar winner has been effectively blacklisted by the film and theatre industry since 2017 despite being cleared by courts in the UK and the US of allegations of sexual assault.
The celebrities have now begun a campaign for his rehabilitation in the wake of a Channel 4 documentary which Stephen Fry, the British actor and author, lambasted for an unjustified and disproportionate attack on his character.

F Murray Abraham, the Oscar-winning actor, said he “vouched for” Spacey “unequivocally” and accused his detractors of being “vultures” for attacking “a man who has publicly accepted his responsibility for certain behaviour, unlike so many others”.

In an interview with The Telegraph’s Allison Pearson, Spacey, 64, said he was the victim of a “rush to judgment” in the wake of the MeToo movement unleashed by allegations made against the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Spacey said all he had wanted – after being accused of a series of sexual misdemeanours – was “for people to ask questions and investigate. And I am well aware that that did not happen”.

He said that even if he could go back in time prior to the allegations when “none of the bad stuff will have happened”, he wouldn’t do so “because, despite the challenges and the difficulties and the pain and the bad days, I’ve also witnessed the most beautiful demonstrations of friendship and love and family.”

Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone told The Telegraph that perhaps Spacey had been a victim of his own fame and success - JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY

Spacey, who won Oscars for The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, was fired from the hit Netflix series House of Cards after the actor Anthony Rapp alleged Spacey, then aged 26, had molested him when he was 14 in the 1980s in his Manhattan apartment. A jury in a civil trial in New York sided with Spacey, finding him not liable, and concluded the event had never taken place.

Spacey was also cleared in a criminal trial in London after allegations of alleged sexual assault were made by four other men.

But despite being cleared, Spacey has struggled to find work, and according to sources, now risks losing his home in Baltimore in the US. The Channel 4 documentary has so incensed his friends that they have now begun to go public for the first time, insisting he be reinstated and recognised as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

Stone, the most bankable female star of the 90s in films such as Basic Instinct, suggested in a statement that Spacey had been a victim of his own fame and success.

She told The Telegraph: “I can’t wait to see Kevin back at work. He is a genius. He is so elegant and fun, generous to a fault and knows more about our craft than most of us ever will.”

She said it was clear aspiring actors had “wanted and want to be around him”, adding: “It’s terrible that they are blaming him for not being able to come to terms with themselves for using him and negotiating with themselves because they didn’t get their secret agendas.”

Neeson, one of Britain’s biggest stars since starring in Schindler’s List 30 years ago, said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of these accusations against him. Kevin is a good man and a man of character. He’s sensitive, articulate and non-judgemental, with a terrific sense of humour. He is also one of our finest artists in the theatre and on camera. Personally speaking, our industry needs him and misses him greatly.”

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson is among the celebrities who have told The Telegraph that the witch hunt against Spacey must end - TODD OWYOUNG/NBC/GETTY

F Murray Abraham, Oscar winner for his role as Salieri in Amadeus, said he counted Spacey as a friend, adding: “I vouch for him unequivocally. Who are these vultures who attack a man who has publicly accepted his responsibility for certain behaviour, unlike so many others?”

Abraham went on: “He is a fine man, I stand with him, and let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

In a withering assessment of the Channel 4 documentary, Fry accepted that Spacey had been “both ‘clumsy’ and ‘inappropriate’ on many occasions” but that to “bracket him with the likes of Harvey Weinstein” and “to continue to harass and hound him, to devote a whole documentary to accusations that simply do not add up to crimes … how can that be considered proportionate and justified?”

Fry said Spacey’s reputation had already been “wrecked”, adding: “Surely it is wrong to continue to batter a reputation on the strength of assertion and rhetoric rather than evidence and proof?”

He added: “Unless I’m missing something I think he has paid the price.”

Sir Trevor Nunn, the former artistic director of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, said the UK believed in the rule of law, adding: “Kevin Spacey faced long court proceedings in the UK and was found, by the jury, to be innocent of all charges. But now, a Channel 4 documentary is urging viewers to believe that the accused is guilty, whatever a jury may have previously decided.”

Sir Trevor had directed Spacey in two productions at The Old Vic in London where Spacey was artistic director and described him as “an actor of genius, on stage and on screen”.

Sir Trevor said: “In light of the court’s verdict, surely it is time for this man to be forgiven for whatever poor judgments he may have made in the past and allowed to resume his career, after seven years of exile?”

In a statement, Channel 4 said it was standing by its documentary, broadcast over two nights last week.

A spokesman said: “Spacey Unmasked is an important film exploring the balance of power and inappropriate behaviour in a work environment, aiming to give a voice to those who have previously been unable to speak out.”