How Kevin Spacey went from megastar to pariah in just over a year

How Kevin Spacey went from megastar to pariah in just over a year

Just four years ago, Kevin Spacey was standing onstage at the Golden Globes, soaking up the applause as he received a Best Actor award for his acclaimed performance in “House of Cards.”

On Monday, while his peers nursed hangovers from this year’s awards, Spacey was sitting in a small Nantucket courtroom to face felony sex assault charges.

Sporting a creepy grin and dapper duds that would have been more appropriate at The Beverly Hilton a night earlier, the two-time Oscar winner pleaded not guilty to charges that he groped an 18-year-old busboy at a bar in the Massachusetts town in 2016.

Spacey, who was dressed in a gray tweed suit, polka-dot tie and purple paisley shirt, said nothing during his brief arraignment in Nantucket District Court — but his calm demeanor belied the stunning fall from grace that has seen him go from megastar to pariah in little more than a year.

Spacey, 59, is facing charges of felony indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping the teen — the son of former Boston news anchor Heather Unruh — after meeting him at Club Car bar, where the young man worked, on the island off Cape Cod in July 2016.

Eager to meet the star when he came into the bar that night, Unruh’s son stuck around after his shift and started chatting with Spacey, telling the actor he was 23, the criminal complaint states.

He claims Spacey bought him eight to 10 glasses of whiskey and beer — declaring, “Let’s get drunk” — and then started trying to convince the young man to come home with him.

“My son was a starstruck, straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator or that he was about to become his next victim.”

The busboy said no, but, hoping to get a selfie with the star, he sat down next to him at a piano in the bar, at which point Spacey allegedly began rubbing the teen’s groin through his pants for around three minutes.

The busboy says he couldn’t get away in the crowded bar, but eventually fled after Spacey went to the bathroom, according to court documents.

The appearance marked the low point in a career nosedive that began in late 2017, when actor Anthony Rapp first accused Spacey of coming on to him when the younger man was just 14.

Rapp’s allegations prompted some 30 others to come forward with their own accusations of misconduct against the “American Beauty” star — spanning from Spacey’s earliest days as an actor to the Nantucket incident that could now put him behind bars for up to five years.

Spacey graduated from the prestigious Manhattan performing arts college Juilliard in 1981 and quickly made a name for himself on Broadway.

But his history of alleged misconduct goes back just as far.

An unnamed former child actor told New York Magazine in 2017 that he began a “sexual relationship” with Spacey in 1983, when the actor was 24 — and the accuser was 14.

The man, who says he first met Spacey in a Westchester acting class, alleges Spacey and he met up for about a year until the adult actor tried to rape him.

Spacey denies this and all other accusations of wrongdoing.

But several others, including Rapp, have accused the star of hitting on them as teens around the same time.

Rapp, now an actor on “Star Trek: Discovery,” alleges Spacey tried to “seduce” him at a party — while a man named Justin Dawes alleged to BuzzFeed that he and a pal were invited to the actor’s pad at age 16 in 1988, where they were served cocktails and shown gay porn.

Meanwhile, Spacey’s career continued to skyrocket. In 1991, he won a Tony Award for the play “Lost in Yonkers” and in 1995 he made his big-screen breakthrough in “The Usual Suspects,” for which he won his first Oscar.

Co-star Gabriel Byrne revealed in 2017 that production on the film had to be shut down for two days after Spacey was accused of hitting on a younger actor.

But his star continued to rise. In 2000, he won a Best Actor Oscar for “American Beauty.”

A few years later, he was also named artistic director at London’s historic Old Vic Theatre.

“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all,” Spacey said in a clip in Frank Underwood’s South Carolina drawl.

After Rapp’s allegations broke the dam, the theater was flooded with reports of Spacey’s alleged behavior and ultimately said it had received 20 separate allegations of inappropriate behavior from the time.

“We were all involved in keeping it quiet. I witnessed him groping men many times in all sorts of different situations,” one ex-employee told the Guardian newspaper.

In 2011, Spacey was cast in one of his most iconic roles — ruthless politician Frank Underwood in Netflix’s hit American adaptation of “House of Cards,” for which he won a Golden Globe in 2015. He’d just begun shooting the show’s sixth season in late October 2017 when everything came crashing down.

Spacey responded to Rapp’s accusation by saying he has no memory of the incident but apologized “for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”

He also used the statement to publicly acknowledge for the first time that he is “a gay man” — but drew scorn from many other stars for connecting his coming out to allegations of sexual misconduct with a kid.

A torrent of other allegations soon swept the media. On Nov. 8, Unruh, a former news anchor at Boston’s WVCB, held a press conference accusing Spacey of assaulting her son.

“My son was a starstruck, straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator or that he was about to become his next victim,” she said.

“When my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him.”

The fallout was swift.

Spacey was kicked off “House of Cards,” removed from the then-forthcoming Ridley Scott blockbuster “All the Money in the World” and dropped as the recipient of a special Emmy Award.

UK police announced they were investigating several sex assault allegations against Spacey.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney subsequently began investigating two allegations against Spacey but dropped one because the statute of limitations had passed.

In September, a massage therapist filed a lawsuit against Spacey in Los Angeles, accusing the star of grabbing the masseur’s hand and directing it to his private parts.

Then, on Christmas Eve, Spacey was finally hit with formal police charges over the alleged incident with Unruh’s son.

That same day, he made his first acting appearance in months — a cryptic three-minute video titled “Let Me Be Frank” in which he reprised his Underwood role.

“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all,” he said in the clip in Underwood’s South Carolina drawl.

“They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved. Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life.”

The video has drawn severe backlash on social media.

Spacey also tried to avoid appearing in court for his Monday arraignment, saying in papers that he believed his “presence will amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case,” but was denied.

During a “show-cause” hearing before Spacey was charged, his lawyers unsuccessfully argued there wasn’t enough evidence against their client — and questioned why his accuser didn’t fight the actor off during three minutes of alleged groping, according to the Boston Globe.

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