- Spacey says he was 'crushed' by allegations
- Four men accuse him of historical sex offences
- Actor denies relationships were non-consensual
LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - Kevin Spacey fought back tears as he told a London court on Thursday how his "world exploded" when he was first accused of sexual assault.
The two-time Oscar-winning actor is standing trial at Southwark Crown Court on a dozen charges of sex offences against four men between 2001 and 2013, when they were in their 20s and 30s.
Giving evidence at the start of his defence, Spacey denied committing any sexual assaults and told jurors he had been "crushed" by the allegations. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The 63-year-old became emotional as he described what he said was the impact of separate accusations that were first made in the U.S. in 2017 by actor Anthony Rapp and published by Buzzfeed.
"My world exploded," he said. "There was a rush to judgment" after the article was published, he added.
"Before the first question was asked or answered, I lost my job, I lost my reputation, I lost everything, in a matter of days."
Spacey said that, with the exception of "some courageous and very kind film-makers and producers" who have asked him to join projects, he has not worked since.
The actor told jurors that, in response to Rapp's accusations, he issued a statement in which he said he was gay.
Spacey, who at times wiped tears from his eyes with a tissue, said: "Members of the LGBTQ+ community were upset because I came out while I was responding to an accusation ... now I understand why it was read that way."
Rapp, who accused him of making an unwanted sexual advance in 1986 when he was 14, brought a civil lawsuit against the actor but lost the case last year, Spacey said.
"Maybe now that the allegation by Anthony Rapp has been proven to be false, maybe people will read that statement with a little bit more understanding now," he said.
'IT WAS, IN MY MIND, ROMANTIC'
Earlier, Spacey was asked about one of the complainants who alleges the actor assaulted him on up to 12 occasions over a period of about four years in the early 2000s.
The actor described the complainant as "funny and charming and flirtatious". Asked if he himself was flirtatious, Spacey replied: "Yeah. I'm a flirt, I'm a big flirt."
He said that as his relationship with the complainant developed over time "it became somewhat sexual".
Spacey denied that it was non-consensual, saying: "It didn't happen in a violent, aggressive, painful way. It was gentle and it was touching and it was, in my mind, romantic."
Spacey denied sexually assaulting a second man who alleges the actor subjected him to a tirade of sexualised remarks at a charity event in London and says Spacey spun him round and painfully grabbed his crotch like "a cobra".
"I never said any of the things that he claims I said to him," Spacey said. On the alleged assault, he added: "It never happened."
Spacey also denied a third complainant's allegations, who says the actor performed oral sex on him while he was passed out in Spacey's London apartment in the late 2000s.
"We had a consensual, I believe nice and lovely evening and then he - if he regretted it immediately, I don't know, I can't speak for him," Spacey said.
The fourth complainant alleges Spacey gave him an "awkward" hug, before kissing his neck and then grabbing his crotch after going with friends to where Spacey was staying near Oxford in central England.
Spacey accepted that he may have made what his lawyer Patrick Gibbs described as a "clumsy pass at someone," but denied sexually assaulting the man.
Spacey is expected to face questions from the prosecution on Friday.
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