Kevin Spacey investigation: Full transcript of Old Vic press conference
The following is the transcript of a press briefing held by the Old Vic at its London home on November 16 and attended by a number of journalists. Those in attendance from the theatre included artistic director Matthew Warchus, executive director Kate Varah, chairman Nick Clarry and Richard Miskella from law firm Lewis Silkin, which conducted the investigation into the allegations concerning Kevin Spacey during his tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic.
Richard Miskella: I’m a partner at Lewis Silken LLP, an employment law firm, and we are very experienced in dealing with sexual harassment issues and dealing with investigations for organisations affected by allegations of that nature. I was appointed on October 31 to lead the investigation on behalf of the Old Vic and my remit was to gather as much information as possible in the shortest possible time, in order to allow the board of trustees of the Old Vic to understand the nature of the stories that were out there, and also to try to put together a meaningful response to that. We presented our report to the board on Tuesday [October 14] and today represents the fruits of that discussion we had. There were four aspects to the investigation we carried out, so you will all be aware that we opened a confidential email address and we advised the Old Vic in relation to how to manage those emails and we collated the evidence that came from that.
Confidentiality is absolutely paramount in this, because that was the way we tried to encourage people to feel that they could genuinely approach the Old Vic and talk to them. And for that reason the board of trustees has had absolutely no confidential information that was shared with them. They delegated complete authority to the executive director, Kate Varah, and she entered into confidentiality terms with us and we have maintained complete confidentiality over all of those pieces of information and testimonies.
We in total had 56 correspondents to that confidential email address, and that was from a range of people – concerned members of the public, theatregoers, former staff, people who attended events at the Old Vic and other people who have a stake in this sort of issue. We are very grateful to all of those people for having shared their information with us. The net result of that was that there were 20 personal testimonies, alleging inappropriate conduct, which ranged in dates from 1995 to 2013. All bar two of those pre-date 2009.
Journalist: Are we talking about all these in relation to Kevin Spacey or to other people at the Old Vic?
Richard Miskella: So of the 56 emails, not everything we received was related to Mr Spacey but these 20 are.
Journalist: What were the other responses concerning?
Kate Varah: Those relate to other things in the industry, spam, or people making commentary on their view.
Richard Miskella: There was a very wide range of stakeholder and corresponders who helped us to understand.
Journalist: Do you mean the personal testimonies came from 20 different people?
Richard Miskella: Twenty individuals contacted us to make an allegation that they personally experienced something that they wanted to share with us. Sixteen of those were former staff and there were four other individuals. One testimony was from a show in 1995 and the remainder were from 2004 to 2009 and then there was two more after that and the last one was in 2013.
Journalist: 1995 pre-dates Mr Spacey’s arrival as artistic director.
Richard Miskella: Yes, that is correct. So in addition to the confidential email we took the information we received there and we discussed it with the strictest confidence with Miss Varah and we identified a range of people who might be able to shed some light on the information that was shared with us. We reached out to all those people and 14 of the people we contacted agreed to speak to us again in confidence.
Journalist: Is that of the 20?
Richard Miskella: No, this is an additional group of people. So in order to help us to try to understand what happened, we spoke to former staff who might have had some understanding or awareness of the allegations. So we’re trying to establish as much information as possible about each allegation. So we’re grateful to those people for sharing their evidence and information with us.
Kate Varah: So, those 14 were part of our own investigation of what went wrong rather than people that came forward, just for clarity.
Richard Miskella: So these are people who might have been aware of something, of some rumour at the time, they might have been in the same part of the building of the time of an allegation. They shared with us information to support the allegations that were made.
Journalist: The 20, do they include any current staff?
Richard Miskella: No
Journalist: Do they include Mr Cavazos, who came forward in his own name with allegations?
Richard Miskella: Well, we promised absolutely strictest confidence with everybody so I can’t tell you the identity of anyone who contacted the email.
Journalist: Those who were not former staff, did they come into contact with him through the theatre?
Richard Miskella: Yes, in ways that were through the theatre, either on the premises or at a party or something. That is the kind of testimony we had.
Journalist: And when you say former staff, do people who were in productions with him count?
Richard Miskella: Yes, for these purposes what we are talking about is people employed by the Old Vic – actors, freelancers who engaged to work in productions. So we are taking a wide definition of that.
Journalist: Does this include audiences?
Richard Miskella: In theory it could have but it didn’t.
Journalist: What is the nature of the inappropriate behaviour?
Richard Miskella: I have to be careful because we made a firm promise of confidentiality, people don’t want their information shared. But what I can say is that there is a range of behaviour, from behaviour that made people uncomfortable all the way through to sexually inappropriate behaviour.
Nick Clarry: It is worth emphasising, you’re saying it is confidential but these guys are going to be interested in why we can’t say more. Can you explain what you said to people about what would happen when they came forward?
Richard Miskella: Anyone who contacted the confidential email address is absolutely guaranteed that we wouldn’t share any information about their story and any details of who they are or anything at all. We have to respect that.
Journalist: Sexually inappropriate behaviour, does that mean sexual assault?
Richard Miskella: A wide range of behaviours.
Richard Miskella: Yes.
Journalist: Can you say whether anyone was raped?
Richard Miskella: None of the 20 people who alleged any behaviour alleged rape.
Journalist: Have the police been involved?
Richard Miskella: In every case where we felt there was something that might constitute criminal behaviour we encouraged people to go to the police. Kate also contacted the police just to see if there was some way that we could make that process easier for people because it is obviously quite stressful.
Journalist: What was the response from the police?
Kate Varah: Interested and supportive.
Journalist: How many of those 20 did you encourage to go to the police?
Richard Miskella: 14
Journalist: So 14 have gone to the police?
Richard Miskella: No. We said to them we really think you should consider it. But we don’t know if they did report it, they haven’t come back and told us.
Journalist: Is that Lewis Silken telling them that or is it the Old Vic telling them that they should go to the police?
Richard Miskella: Well, we were acting as the agents of the Old Vic when we were dealing with people. The Old Vic encouraged them to go to the police. Three correspondents told us that they had already gone to the police and that they were sharing that information with us. The other 11 haven’t said whether they are going or not.
Journalist: Are all these 20 male?
Richard Miskella: Yes, they were all male.
Journalist: Can you explain the Old Vic’s statement that no complaints had been brought to its attention?
Richard Miskella: Yes. No formal grievances, complaints, were received at the time. More than that there were no legal claims, no legal claims threatened, no settlement agreements were entered into, no payments were authorised in relation to Mr Spacey. So, from an official formal standpoint there was nothing. What we have managed to establish by encouraging people to come to us was we had one testimony which said that the individual informed the manager who was in the room at the time, and that manager didn’t do anything about it.
So they went into a room where the manager was, a large room where there was lots of people there, and they said to the manager that something had just happened and that manager didn’t do anything about it. That person also specifically required us not to take that forward, not to try to contact that manager, not to share their story with that person at all. So we just haven’t been able to do anything more with that than record that testimony.
Journalist: What date was it?
Kate Varah: We can’t share any details that would expose the individual concerned, what we can’t do is verify it either. We’re being open and saying, it alleged that this happened, we don’t know if that is the case or not but we want to share it with you.
Journalist: Is it a former manager?
Richard Miskella: They didn’t name the manager, so can’t guarantee, but there has been a passage of time.
Journalist: Can I clarify, you said he wasn’t in the room of the alleged assault but he was in the room when the person relayed what happened?
Richard Miskella: Yes, precisely.
Journalist: Has anyone from Lewis Silken or the Old Vic made contact with Kevin Spacey over these allegations?
Richard Miskella: We invited him to participate in this investigation and he didn’t respond. So it is very important to note that what we are telling you about is a series of allegations that haven’t been answered. And because of the confidential nature of this Mr Spacey and his representatives have no idea about the nature of these allegations we have been told about.
Journalist: You are confident that in some shape or form he received the invitation to participate in your investigation?
Kate Varah: He was sent it. I had no confirmation he received it but there is no way of contacting him other than the way we did.
Nick Clarry: However we did put out a press release to say we were undertaking an investigation.
Kate Varah: It is exactly right to note that these are allegations and we haven’t been able to test them either with Kevin or specifically with any of those people who came forward – the 14 witnesses we spoke to. We’ve done everything we can to try to understand how we can substantiate this but it is unsubstantiated information.
Journalist: About the allegation in 1995, because he wasn’t at the Old Vic, what does it relate to?
Richard Miskella: It relates to a project that the Old Vic were connected with.
Journalist: I’m assuming that all the ones that have gone forward to the police, that’s the Metropolitan Police, where you’ve encouraged because they all took place within the Met Police area?
Richard Miskella: The dialogue that Kate has was with the Metropolitan Police. We don’t actually know, some of these correspondence sent from an anonymous email address so we don’t know where they are based so we’ve just told them generically. […]
We had the confidential email, the 56 responses and the 14 witnesses that agreed to speak with us. We also did a daily trawl through your colleagues’ [journalists] good work to find out what public allegations there were and to try and correlate evidence and testimony and patterns of behaviours. Finally we did a process of just taking snapshot samples of historical email boxes. Unfortunately with the time we had available, that is not a forensic or complete process but we just did keyword searches in certain periods of times and certain historic mail boxes that we are able to access. That was the fourth part of our review.
So, we took all of that and we prepared a confidential and privileged report for the board which we shared with them, we drew conclusion, identified some themes and areas where clearly there are higher risks of this kind of behaviour taking place, then we had a discussion about what the steps forward should be and what it would look like. What could have been in place at the time to encourage more of these allegations to come to surface at the time.
So, in broad terms, our conclusion was that there wasn’t widespread knowledge of this. That is not what our review shows, it is not definitive but we haven’t found that evidence at all. And there were pockets of the Old Vic where knowledge or suspicion is greater than others and that seemingly did not get escalated. The question we set ourselves was why, and what could have been done to encourage people to escalate that information more.
Journalist: So, what you are saying is that the review hasn’t uncovered evidence that there was widespread knowledge?
Richard Miskella: One of the interesting things is that we had a lot of correspondents who would say I’m not connected to the Old Vic but everyone knew. But the interesting thing is when you ask people ‘what did you know?’, no two people gave the same answer. So there is a very wide range of responses, from Mr Spacey’s undisclosed sexuality through to more serious suspicions. But, if you imagine a sort of water cooler test, so if you stood by someone by the water cooler and asked them ‘do you know about the rumour about so and so?’, a consistent message didn’t emerge; a lot of the people we spoke to within the Old Vic or from the Old Vic seemed very genuinely blindsided by this.
Journalist: Was there a general air of suspicion?
Richard Miskella: Some people did but there wasn’t a consistent uniform understanding, it wasn’t like there was a particular mode of behaviour that everybody knew. That is not the picture that has emerged from this snapshot that we have taken over two weeks.
Matthew Warchus: I worked as a freelancer twice in that period and I didn’t know of anything, and the rumours I encountered were to do with his sexuality, but nothing beyond that. It’s unlikely I was an isolated case.
Journalist: The open secret quote, what would you say about that?
Richard Miskella: This is the difficulty. I don’t actually feel like our review identified anything consistent enough. I can’t say to you that there was a bell curve of responses, where there was a clear consensus emerging around that at all. I can tell you that there were a lot of people who said it was his undisclosed sexuality, there were some people who said he was quite open about that with people and direct, but certainly it wasn’t the case that there was a widespread view that he was engaging in non-consensual behaviours. We just didn’t see a wide range of responses there. We have to caveat that because we spent two weeks dealing with as many people as we can we have not got an exhaustive view here, but what we’ve got is widespread consistency both over the people we’ve spoken to and interacted with.
Journalist: Did all the incidents take place here in this building [the theatre] or different locations?
Richard Miskella: Different locations including this building.
Journalist: Can you break it down how many took place in this building?
Richard Miskella: More than half took place here […]
Journalist: Were Kevin Spacey’s emails ever checked? […]
Kate Varah: His emails were not checked as part of the investigation because there are several email accounts where permission is needed to be given in the right way. I wasn’t confident that permission was given in the right way and therefore I wanted to hold back for now.
Richard Miskella: We weren’t able to check them in the time available.
Journalist: Did anyone report multiple examples of harassment?
Richard Miskella: No.
Journalist: So were they opportunistic one-off incidents and he moves on to another person?
Richard Miskella: They were all individual incidents.
Kate Varah: We really need to try and keep the testimonies of the individuals anonymised such as that they don’t read something in the press and think that’s been mentioned and I shared that in confidence.
Journalist: What do you mean by ‘pockets where suspicions were greater’, as you said there was no institutional cover up?
Richard Miskella: So the bar, several allegations were related to the bar and some were related to creative areas of the building, such as performance and rehearsal areas. The operational areas of the building didn’t receive any testimonies, such as finance.
Kate Varah: So if you literally tailed someone who had the artistic director’s role around the building, it would be rare that they would be in operational areas.
Journalist: So, the actor that had said on Facebook that Mr Spacey had created picnic scenes on stage and invited men to join him there, did that emerge in the complaints made?
Richard Miskella: We asked about that and we weren’t able to find any testimony that could recall that, but I understand that…
Kate Varah: Dinners on stage are not uncommon in theatre, we have dinners on stage all the time so that may or may not have happened, I’m not saying that person is incorrect but it is not out of the ordinary as we host dinners on stage after the show for our supporters. It would not have been recorded as a private picnic, it just would have been recorded as ‘please set up the she show post-show for a pos-show event on stage’. So it wouldn’t have been recorded specifically if it was used for a different purpose. It’s not something on record that we have found but I’m not saying it didn’t happen.
Journalist: Did any of the alleged victims talk about being told not to speak out or being threatened?
Richard: No, there was no testimonies about that.
Journalist: Did people allege that roles were either offered or withdrawn on the basis of their response to his approach?
Richard Miskella: No.
Journalist: Did you ask why people didn’t come forward?
Richard Miskella: We didn’t want to come across as critical; we just thanked people sincerely for sharing difficult stories with us and to explain that we respect their confidentiality, so no, we didn’t say why not.
Kate Varah: We did give them the opportunity to share anything more or do anything more than inform us of the Old Vic’s response to this, in a way that made them feel comfortable.
Nick Clarry: I think something that we haven’t said is that Kate and Richard tried to find the balance between providing support and counselling and assistance.
Kate Varah: Not ourselves.
Nick Clarry: But facilitating that, and I think one of you two should comment on what is that, what was that. We tried to find a balance between helping those people affected whilest running an investigation which is obviously a fine line because these are difficult times. So, do you want to comment on that?
Kate Varah: As part of our responses we said ‘thank you, this is incredibly useful, please tell us if you want us to take any of this further’. In the event that you felt there’s anything that should be said, you might want to consider doing this, and we followed up by saying that we’ve set up a confidential external counselling line, so if you want to share any further with that line, that is something we are providing and you can do that, and we also provided some face-to-face counselling sessions for anybody who came forward. Now, they were provided without judgement or assessment, or verifying those people’s testimonies. We took all the testimonies at face value, so anybody who came and said to us they felt they’d experienced something here, we provided that service for. That will be available for the next 12 months and at that point if we still feel it’s appropriate to continue with them we’ll obviously take a view at that point, and people responded positively to that.
Journalist: Can you say how many made use of it?
Kate Varah: No, because it’s confidential, we give them the details, it’s an external provider, it’s their choice whether they take it up or not.
Journalist: Can we say whether they felt they needed the counselling? How have their experiences affected them?
Kate Varah: Varied. People were generally just saying thank you. Generally the response to the line was they were grateful they were offered the opportunity to share their testimony and grateful we were offering this counselling and support should they need it. I don’t know whether they are taking it up or not.
Journalist: Could I check something on ages very quickly? You say no minors were involved, we’re defining a minor as under 18 or under 16?
Richard Miskella: 18.
Journalist: And without breaking confidentiality, within a general age range, as in the ages of people bringing the complaints, obviously people can be 18 up to 65 or more in the theatre. Younger men?
Richard Miskella: Younger men.
Journalist: And was this all done via email? There were no face-to-face interviews?
Richard Miskella: With the confidential correspondence, it was all done by email or telephone, where they chose to follow up with a telephone call. But the interviews that we held, some of those were face-to-face.
Journalist: Who conducted those interviews?
Richard Miskella: Lewis Silkin.
Journalist: It says in your press release that some of the alleged victims said that calling out this behaviour could have been easier if a mechanism was in place by which complaints could be raised safely in the organisation, so are you accepting that a proper mechanism wasn’t in place?
Nick Clarry: That might be a good time to talk about the way forward, and what the conclusions are, and what we are going to do about that, but I think Richard just to specifically answer the question, which was are we saying the mechanism weren’t in place, can you tackle that? And Kate, just in the interests of time, to talk about what is our response to this?
Richard Miskella: The standard mechanisms were in place, but our review indicated that when you are dealing with someone very, very, important, very senior, with real star power behind them, that maybe those mechanisms weren’t enough to encourage people to come forward. So the clear single thing that came out was that pockets of the business knew, and it didn’t get escalated, and why didn’t that happen, and what could have been in place to help that happen? Having a grievance procedure in place didn’t seem to have the right effect, it didn’t encourage people.
Journalist: But some people have said they were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements in the bar and front of house?
Kate Varah: Everybody has signed a confidentiality agreement, but it doesn’t pertain to any one individual, it’s a confidentiality agreement that all staff sign, because we ask them to hold information about shows, it’s a very standard document that as long as I’ve been here, everybody’s been signing, we haven’t got records as far back as before, but …
Journalist: A couple of people are saying it changed in 2008-ish?
Kate Varah: I have no record of that. So talking about this issue, there were procedures in place, but why did people not feel they could use them and take them up? This is obviously something which has been really dismaying and distressing for us, and we want to note that we are so grateful to the people that came forward, which has helped us understand more about the issues that we as an organisation and also we as an industry are facing. So you may have a robust process in place, but actually, is that sufficient? So one of the big shifts that we’re going to make is that we are going to implement a process of guardians, which is a group of people that sit outside of the normal HR functions, they are throughout the organisation – board members, management – who are chosen and given specific training and who are across all of the functions, so not just operationally, but also in the creative zones of the building, so that we make sure we have somebody who everybody knows is accountable and who they can go to confidentially if they have any concerns. So the hope is that they will be confident enough in our HR provision, which is robust and strong in 2017 where we are now, but if they don’t, there’s someone else they can go to who they feel they can share any concerns with. We’re also going to sit down with staff to talk about what is and what isn’t okay, because I think what’s come out of this and a lot of the coverage over the last two weeks has been about whether there are any grey areas, and it seems to us as a result of this investigation that there are lots of grey areas and we need to figure out what they are. It is not as simple as saying you can’t have a drink with someone after work, you have to be able to understand what enables this industry to continue to be creative and brilliant, but also enables people to be safe in it and feel happy and confident working in it, and that’s the next challenge for us and for everyone.
Journalist: Is one of the issues you are dealing with different productions and freelance actors? There’s no kind of joint thinking?
Kate Varah: Certainly historically there’s been a range of people in and out of the building, and a range of management and governance structures in place, so historically there’s been a lot of change. One of the brilliant things that we’ve done since Matthew’s joined in 2015 is review all of our processes and policies, we are really trying to create a continuity amongst our freelancers as well as our permanent staff members. We have 82 staff in the building, we have 250 people in total coming out across the year who work for us. It’s really important that all of those people have clarity and support. And that is a big challenge for everybody, not just for us.
Journalist: These allegations, are they happening for a reason or are they spaced out?
Kate Varah: They were spaced out.
Journalist: […]Pockets, this word pockets is really getting at me, because how can the core of what you do, which is putting on productions, and what you call your creative parts, how can that be a pocket? […]
Richard Miskella: I don’t mean to get hung up on a word I was using for the first time in relation to this.
Kate Varah: It’s more about where behaviour happened and zones of behaviour rather than behaviour being in pockets, because you are right, this is a theatre and the creativity is at the heart of what we do. What we were trying to demonstrate is that this happened in specific areas at specific times, in specific circumstances. Because we can’t give you specifics and we know that everybody really badly wants them, what we were trying to do was give some colour around it. Look, this wasn’t happening when you walked through the building and this was rife, and you felt deeply unsafe from the moment you walked in, that’s not the case, this was moments where these things happened over a 13-year period.
Journalist: So rather than geographical areas of the building, I think what my colleague was trying to say was it because your work forces are so fluid?
Matthew Warchus: Today there will be a group of people that finish at five, and another group that work through to 10.30 at night, then another group who decide to go for a drink after that. And so they’re not necessarily the same.
Kate Varah: This building is open 24 hours a day and there are different work patterns and shift patterns and work forces, and types of contractor, so we have a very, very fluid mobile workforce.
Richard Miskella: We weren’t by any means trying to suggest isolation, it was really our effort to try to give you more information.
Journalist: Is the investigation continuing?
Richard Miskella: The confidential email is still open, and if new people come forward of course the Old Vic will tell us what they want us to do about that. The big question in the investigation will be, from the trustees’ point of view – is the new information more of the same, confirming the findings we have so far, or is there a pivot in the information that needs to be reassessed. So the investigation will remain open, and we will assess the facts as they come in.
Journalist: I know you said it’s important about confidentiality, Mr Cavazos has indeed gone public, he’s put a post on Facebook. Have you spoken to him?
Nick Clarry: I think Richard answered that earlier. The reason why I don’t think Richard can answer that, is if we are seen to break confidence in one example even though he’s gone public. If we say yes (I don’t know the answer because I was not involved) but if we say yes, he did respond, other people will say I wonder how many other times they have broken confidence, so this has to be a black-and-white issue where we just can’t talk about the investigation.
Journalist: It’s not black and white though, he’s put it on Facebook.
Nick Clarry: You could for example ask him if he responded, and he’s free to answer, but I just don’t think people would have come forward if we hadn’t given them the assurances of confidentiality. But people were encouraged to speak up and go to the police and be open, but it has to be a personal decision.
Kate Varah: And it is really important to us that everybody is aware it is truly confidential as a process, because the thing that has concerned me over the last week of reports about it is that people who might need access to the counselling line might not come forward because they don’t think it’s confidential, but it is.
Journalist: The man who said he saw his manager at one point, how serious an allegation was his?
Richard Miskella: Middle of the range.
Journalist: And he roughly would have said when that period was, so you might be able to work out which manager he was talking about?
Kate Varah: If we could, we weren’t allowed by that individual to go to that person.
Journalist: Do you know who the manager was?
Kate Varah: I can’t comment on that.
Journalist: Do you feel the need to apologise for any of this? Do you think you’ve failed your employees by running an organisation where because of the star power of one person and their power in that role, that employees don’t feel comfortable in coming forward?
Kate Varah: The Old Vic does apologise for what has happened, or what is alleged to have happened. That apology really goes to the people who feel they are affected by this, but what’s really important is to understand there’s a new way forward for this organisation. We are 200 next year, there’s been a very long and vibrant history of this theatre, and this is a really dismaying time and discovery that should not, I sincerely hope, colour the future of this theatre and our ability to work with the people that were affected, understand what went wrong, prevent it from happening again, and then move forward and continue to keep this theatre that we all love thriving and vibrant.
Journalist: What are your feelings about Kevin Spacey? Is it anger or…
Mathew Warchus: This last month has created lots of feelings and emotions and thoughts, personally. And I don’t think any of those are what we are here to discuss – they are not relevant. We’re here to try to define and upgrade the protection and support systems in this theatre, if possible. I would just mention your question – you said that there was nothing that people felt ‘in this theatre’. I think the phrase you used that there was nobody they could turn to – As somebody who worked here in that period and is a freelance director of the last 30 years, I’ve pretty much worked in every producing theatre inside London and outside London and New York. My experience of working here was in no way a toxic environment, my experience working here was identical to every other theatre I’ve ever worked in. So you can understand how surprising, confusing, shocking this turn of events is, and my big hope is it doesn’t reflect on the Old Vic as a name, and a brand. It was a very very hard situation to spot.
Journalist: Was Harvey Weinstein a figure at the Old Vic over the past 20 years?
Kate Varah: Not at all.
Nick Clarry: It’s a fair question, but on a factual basis, no.
Kate Varah: I’d also like to say that we have not slept since this came out, because we’ve been working incredibly hard to do this in a robust and detailed and careful way. It would have been easy for us to make a quick statement. It was not appropriate for us to do that because of the nature of the allegations. I want to really stress that we have taken this so seriously, and this is not something we want to rush a statement out on, we gave information where we could, we wanted to respect the people who came forward, and now we’re able to give our view of what we think may have happened, what we know we certainly could do better at, and what we can do for the future, and I hope that some of the actions for the future will come forward as soon as possible, because that’s something I think is really important for the next generation of theatregoers.
Journalist: Going back to emails – why hasn’t Kevin Spacey’s email account been scrutinised?
Kate Varah: There’s an issue with getting access to emails from a data protection perspective full stop, to make sure what we are doing is appropriate and legal. That’s not to say we will not do that as part of our ongoing investigation, but that hasn’t been done yet.
Richard Miskella: There are legal protections and data protection issues, unless you feel confident that you’re where you should be, that’s a line you can’t cross.
Journalist: But have you taken snapshots of other staff members’ emails?
Kate Varah: It depends on what consent you’ve got from somebody when they’re employed.
Journalist: So Kevin Spacey had a specific contract that precluded anybody…
Kate Varah: No, that’s absolutely not the case, there are different contracts for staff, we go through a very detailed data protection policy here. We’ve had two weeks to do this. It’s something we are looking at, it’s not something we’ve done to date.
Journalist: Just coming back to the ongoing investigation, you mentioned that the helpline will still be open, will there still be a proactive investigation going forward, rather than just waiting for people to come forward?
Kate Varah: There’s probably going to be both. I think it will be more along the lines of, ‘let’s try and get our house in order going forward’, because we’ve had a pretty good response from people, we understand through the people we’ve spoken to, ex staff and current staff, the kind of things we need to do, and if something comes forward, as Richard said, that changes our perception on what’s happened, we will absolutely change course. But for now, what’s really important is making sure the staff here understand and feel really empowered by and interested in this debate and help to inform the way forward. We will look at our policies and make sure they are as good as they should be, and we will do a bit of work on enhancing them, and we will be part of an industry-wide debate. And the other thing – silver linings of difficult situations – is we have a huge amount of learning now that we want to share with the industry, and it’s a really important debate for everybody. Matthew said this is not bespoke to the Old Vic, and I’m not undermining the seriousness of what’s happened here, and we absolutely own that, but there are other organisations that genuinely could benefit from what we’ve learned, and it’s really important we have that intelligent debate about how to make sure our industry is safer.
Journalist: Did anyone indicate that any trustees on the board had any information or even any idea about what was going on?
Richard Miskella: Our investigation didn’t find anything indicating that trustees …
Journalist: Did you talk to all trustees?
Richard Miskella: We spoke to, we’ve promised everyone we spoke to confidentiality, which now is starting to feel like that it wasn’t quite as clear a decision as we thought it was, but we spoke to a number of trustees, and every single one of them was completely shocked by allegations of sexual impropriety.
Journalist: Are you going to update on the further results of your investigation? Are you expecting many more people to come forward?
Richard Miskella: Who knows what will happen.
Kate Varah: I hope that what we can do is share this and then move on with the way forward. If there are things that come forward that mean that we need to gather again in this room, then no one will be sadder than us.
Journalist: Why was a statement put out yesterday by Sally Greene that nobody knew anything, but today we’ve heard there was a complaint, but that complaint didn’t get taken?
Richard Miskella: It’s an unverified statement that we’ve taken at face value and haven’t gone further with because the person asked us specifically not to.
Nick Clarry: Sally Greene will have been talking in her personal capacity and from her own point of view, she hasn’t personally conducted an investigation, so she will have been speaking in her personal capacity, whereas I’m the chairman, Richard has conducted the review, this is the management team, and this is the official spokesperson for the theatre.
Note on the transcription: We have tried to keep the transcript as close as possible to the original recording, however in the case where words or grammar were unclear, some light editing has taken place.
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