On January 7th, Nantucket’s courthouse had an unusual guest. Due to charges pressed against actor Kevin Spacey for an alleged sexual assault, he was required to be present for his hearing on the island.
Kevin Spacey visits Nantucket over the summer like many other celebrities. In July of 2016, Spacey was sitting at the bar at the Club Car and made conversation with a young man who happened to be a busboy at the restaurant. Claiming he was 23 years old, this young man was talking with Spacey and accepting the many drinks he was being served. As the night drew on, Spacey allegedly began to make the young man uncomfortable by touching him inappropriately. The young man apparently took a video of this interaction and sent it to his girlfriend. Shortly after, the young man exited the Club Car and decided not to report the alleged incident. As it turns out, the victim was actually 18 years old and not of legal age to drink, which Kevin Spacey was not aware of. Over a year after this alleged sexual assault, the mother of the victim brought this case to the surface resulting in the court order for a hearing. On the day of his hearing, where the victim was not present, Spacey spent a total of only one hour on the island and five minutes in the courthouse where he never spoke a word.
While the hearing itself was the talk of the town, all the attention surrounding Spacey’s appearance on the island was very different from Nantucket’s average winter day. News crews began to arrive days in advance and the streets were filled with people holding cameras in the faces of many locals who came to see whatever they could. Major media outlets physically present on Nantucket included CNN, NBC, ABC News, CBS Boston News, and more. When asked what she thought, sophomore Amanda Mack stated, “I drove through town the day before he arrived and saw the several different news vans lining the street outside the courthouse, and thought it was crazy that they came all the way here, when the arraignment took about five minutes.”
The incredible amount of news media that was so invested in this particular event was a surprise to many. In addition, what was very unexpected to many locals was the fact that the hearing took place on Nantucket instead of somewhere on the mainland. After this incident on the island was announced, most assumed that the arraignment itself would be held in a much larger courthouse with a more practical scene for a case in which a very popular celebrity is involved. However, when asked if she was surprised by how much media attention Nantucket received, sophomore Camie Strojny said, “I️ was not very surprised by how much attention was directed towards Nantucket because the encounter did occur on Nantucket, in the Club Car, so it would only make sense for attention to surround the island. Kevin Spacey is in the public a lot as well, so the case got a lot of attention all around.” Spacey’s next hearing will take place on March 4th and will most likely not gain as much attention as the first, for the actor will not be present.
By Reese Burns