Updated: Feb 25
The revelations last week regarding the key complainant in the Kevin Spacey saga has given us all here at YESpbm something to chat about over our highly inappropriate work lunches.
It certainly reinforces the message that managing your online reputation today, is a vital component of any successful career.
With the right guidance and tools it could even be as simple as sitting next to the pool with an iPad. Knowing when to sit down though and "get out in front of" these attacks online is the key.
A bitter ex, disgruntled employee or bad review on Yelp, getting the right help early on is vital.
Sadly, few people are this proactive and Kevin Spacey was no exception.
S0 - is Kevin Spacey a sexually confused "creep" who gets it wrong sometimes after a few drinks? OR, is he a sexual predator whose presence makes a work environment “toxic”?
Your opinion, no doubt, is highly coloured by what you've seen and heard online. Unless of course, you actually know Kevin personally.
Given what we do, and the number of people we help manage their internet reputation who've been wrongly accused of everything from tax evasion and assault, to fraud and sexual harassment, perhaps it is natural we came down on the side of “innocent until proven guilty”.
You see, this week it was revealed that the criminal charges against Kevin Spacey have been dropped, ultimately, through lack of evidence. See BBC - “Massachusetts prosecutors drop sex assault case”.
His accuser, who got his moment of fame, and we assume, was paid well for his story by “news” outlets, has refused to provide a key piece of evidence which Kevin Spacey’s defence team suggested would prove his innocence. Namely a cell phone which the accuser claims to have “lost”.
First, he dropped his civil case, then the criminal prosecution failed and withdrew.
In a nutshell, Kevin Spacey may have just reminded some people that where there is smoke, there is not necessarily a blazing inferno.
The most terrifying aspect here was just how quickly he was condemned and cast out by all following a single accusation. It could happen to anybody, and it does. Everyone is easily prone to having a bad online reputation.
Granted, a couple more accusations came to light afterward, but they seem to have fallen by the wayside. As per the timeline below though - the first accusation/story was enough to seal his fate.
The allegation first aired on the 30th Oct and by the 3rd Nov (4 days later), Netflix was claiming “Spacey's behaviour made the House of Cards set a "toxic" work environment”, he had lost his talent and PR representatives (perhaps says more about them than him), a couple of #metoo’ers had jumped on board and he was heading for some serious muddy water.
The BBC break it down for us here - Kevin Spacey timeline: How the story unfolded.
Now that’s a bad week - the first of many it seems.
Within a couple of weeks Kevin Spacey had pretty much lost everything due to a media frenzy, and the politically correct, self protecting, reaction of everyone and every organisation he'd been working with.
He went from being a well-respected, well liked, Academy award-winning actor, at the very top of his game, to being cut from one of the most popular TV series on Netflix and digitally erased from a movie all within the space of a few short weeks. He was an outcast fighting for credibility.
Guilty by Innuendo
He was accused, tried and convicted within the first article and of course the “Usual Suspects” (pardon the reference to one of his best films) lined up to claim their moment in the sun and honorary #metoo badge.
Almost three years later and he finally gets his day in court. Vindicated. Arguably.
Sadly though, as they’ve already withdrawn the Emmy he was about to win in 2017, completed the film (All the money in the world) without him and made an absolute hash out of House of Cards in his absence - the damage was done.
His loss, was our loss.
A Drunken Fondle?
Like many of us, I’d say, Kevin Spacey has made the odd mistake. He possibly got a little too drunk at the odd party and committed the cardinal sin of taking a pass at someone he thought was attractive, and interested in him, for more than his money and fame.
He may have been inappropriate at times, I don’t know the man.
What I do know is that his trial by media is symbolic and represents millions more victims of hysteria and judgement around the world who don’t have his wealth, media contacts or popularity to help them when they’re also wrongly accused.
Let’s stop jumping to judgement at the slightest mention of a drunken fondle, or sideways glance. Let’s remember that we are all human beings and fatally flawed.
We've all, I'm sure, done something we've regretted over the years and wished we could take back. Whether it's words said in anger to a spouse, or child, or a drunken pass at a bar. None of us are perfect.
Next time we see someone having a week like Mr Spacey - at the very least, let's let a little due process take its course before we throw away the key.