Kevin Spacey made a surprise appearance at an Oxford lecture honoring late conservative philosopher Roger Scruton on Monday night, performing for the first time since he was acquitted of sexual assault charges in London.
In a clip from the event titled “what Shakespeare can teach us about cancel culture,” The Spectator associate editor Douglas Murray invited Spacey on stage to perform a monologue from “Timon of Athens.”
“In an era of cancellation and defenestration we sometimes forget that we cannot go on like this and that we have been here before. We know this because our greatest writers and artists have addressed this question in their own times,” Murray said, referencing when Scruton was briefly dismissed from a government commission in 2019 over offensive remarks he made in an interview with the New Statesman.
“It’s about what happens when a society drops a person for no reason,” Murray told the Times about the particular scene. “It’s something that has been on Kevin’s mind, as it was on Roger Scruton’s mind, so I said I want him to be back on stage in the U.K.”
Spacey then delivered the performance, making his way through the crowd before saying the monologue’s final line: “I am sick of this false world, and will love it not!” Spacey dramatically stormed out of the room before reentering, and was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.
In July, Spacey was acquitted of sexual assault charges in the U.K. after a four-week trial in London. He was initially accused of allegedly sexually assaulting four men in the country between 2004 and 2013. Spacey’s U.K. trial followed one in New York in 2022, in which he was also found not liable of sexual abuse.
However, the accusations continue to mire the former “House of Cards” star’s career. The premiere for his first film since the controversy, “Control,” was canceled by a London cinema over the weekend.
“My staff as well as I are horrified that we are being mentioned in the same breath as his new film for the premiere,” read an email from Greg Lynn, who runs the Prince Charles Cinema, via The Telegraph. The premiere was able to find a new location “less than 24 hours” after the cancellation, a rep for “Control” star and producer Lauren Metcalfe told Variety.