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Buzzfeed’s unethical takedown of Kevin Spacey exposed in court documents.

Kevin Spacey Acquitted of Sexual‌ Offense Charges

Kevin Spacey was recently acquitted of nine sexual offense claims in a London courtroom. It was the third time on two continents that he has⁢ been acquitted in courts ‍of law.

This series of allegations against Spacey first emerged with a Buzzfeed News article released in ‌October 2017. All of the cases and‌ charges that followed that article effectively ended Spacey’s career and public life. The ​article was written by⁣ journalist Adam Vary and claimed ⁤Spacey had sexually assaulted actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was just 14.

One thing to ⁢make you aware of: We can’t seem to place Spacey at the Tony’s in 2008. He didn’t present and wasn’t nominated, and there’s no photos we can find. We ​don’t doubt he was there, but ⁤we don’t want to nail down⁢ a specific date that Spacey⁢ could then just flatly deny. We’re still looking, but⁣ if we can’t nail‍ it down, we’ll​ likely say that you saw him at⁣ an industry ​event ⁤or some such.

Narrative Collusion

This story that brought down Spacey would have gone unquestioned except that Rapp sued Spacey for $40 million for assault and ‍emotional trauma in 2020.

Under the legal process of discovery, Rapp was‍ able to subpoena documents from Spacey. However, discovery is‌ a ⁣two-way‌ street. ⁤Rapp had to hand over the emails and texts exchanged between him and Vary‌ preceding the publication of ‌the article.

Avoiding the Details

This ⁣wasn’t the end of Vary and Buzzfeed’s unethical​ journalism. The rest of the ‌texts showed Vary ⁢was worried Spacey could somehow prove he​ didn’t host​ a party or wasn’t even in the country in 1986 when the assault allegedly happened. To ‌prevent this, Vary ⁤boasted ⁢to Rapp about a‍ sneaky solution: He would make the date and location of the party ‍so vague⁢ Spacey would not be able to produce solid evidence to refute the allegations.

That’s exactly what he did. In‍ the ​article, the ‌sexual offense is described as happening sometime ‌“in ‌1986” with no description or address of the ‌apartment.

Evading‌ the Questions

Vary participated in a number of interviews ⁣about his ⁢journalism and the Spacey story. When asked to ​explain his unethical ⁢behavior under oath in a deposition, he claimed “reporter’s ​privilege” and refused to⁤ answer close to⁣ 100 ⁢questions. The taped ​recording‌ of ​his response shows his refusals became almost comical at⁣ times. He wouldn’t ⁣even say ⁤if‌ he had used Google to check Barrowman’s age. American ​jurisprudence has put in place much-needed protections to ⁢allow journalists to maintain confidential sources — but ‌it’s doubtful ⁢if judges thought the scope of the privilege should extend to using Google in reporting.

Ultimately,⁤ we can’t say whether the​ various ⁢allegations ⁤against Spacey ⁤are true or false. What we do know ​is that Buzzfeed deceived its readers and that Vary’s journalism was deeply ⁢unethical. It’s unlikely that if the ⁢original allegations were properly researched and ethically reported they⁣ would have⁢ ever been published ‌in any ​reputable news outlet.

The original Buzzfeed article still‍ remains unchanged. There is no acknowledgment of the collusion to obscure ‌and withhold important details.​ And it still erroneously refers to Barrowman as⁢ “a 17-year-old friend.”

We sent Vary and Buzzfeed a series of questions⁤ about the contents‌ of the communications between Rapp and Vary ​and the errors in the Spacey article. They both declined ⁤to comment.

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