Kevin Spacey has picked up a lifetime achievement award in Italy – days after appearing in court in the UK to deny allegations of sexual assault.
In his first official speaking engagement since the #MeToo-era allegations came to light, the 63-year-old visited the city of Turin where he was honoured with an award for contributing to the growth of cinema.
The two-time Academy Award winner was also scheduled to teach a masterclass and introduce a screening of the 1999 film American Beauty.
It comes after Spacey appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court by video link on Friday to deny three counts of indecent assault, three counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.
He has previously denied five other allegations in the UK.
During a speech prior to receiving his award on Monday night, Spacey – who has not conducted an official public speaking engagement since sex abuse allegations came to light in 2017 – denied withdrawing from public life.
Speaking to local news agency Ansa, he said: “I live my life every day, I go to restaurants, I meet people, drive, play tennis, I’ve always managed to meet generous, genuine, compassionate people.
“I haven’t hidden away, I haven’t gone to live in a cave.”
Spacey, who received the Mole Antonelliana lifetime achievement award at the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, thanked the venue for having had “le palle”- Italian for “balls” – to invite him.
“My heart is very full toward the Museum of Cinema for having had the ‘palle’ to invite me tonight,” he told the audience.
He also thanked the museum’s director Domenico De Gaetano and head of international relations Marco Fallanca for putting on the event.
“By presenting this award, they are making a strong defence of artistic achievement and for that, they should be applauded,” he said.
Spacey also gave a special mention to his manager, Evan Lowenstein.
He said: “Evan has not only stood beside me. He has stood in front of me when I needed to be led and stood behind me when I needed to be shoved.”
Spacey, who lost his starring role in House of Cards following the allegations, filmed his most recent movie, director Franco Nero’s The Man Who Drew God, in Turin.
On Sunday, he visited football side Torino’s Olympic Stadium for their Serie A match against Spezia, where he posed for a photograph with a club shirt emblazoned with his name.
Spacey is scheduled to go on trial in London in June on a dozen charges alleging he sexually assaulted four men between 2001 and 2013, including when he was the artistic director at the city’s Old Vic theatre.
He has pleaded not guilty.
In October, a federal jury in a New York civil case found Spacey not liable over sexual abuse allegations by actor Anthony Rapp, dating back to when both were relatively unknown Broadway actors in 1986 and Rapp was 14 years old.
Spacey previously faced allegations in Massachusetts that he groped a man at a bar.
Prosecutors later dropped the charges.