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Kevin Spacey believes he can relate to the sense of loss unemployed citizens may be feeling amid the coronavirus pandemic after sexual assault allegations against him placed his acting career on hold.
The "American Beauty" actor, 60, recorded a video message from his home in honor of the Bits and Pretzels Virtual Founders Breakfast in March. In the 10-minute long recording, recently uncovered by the Daily Mail, Spacey begins by thanking health care professionals all over the world for their sacrifices on the front lines.
He then delves into his personal experience with becoming unemployed in 2017, when his acting career was upended as male victims alleged he sexually assaulted them.
"I don't think it will come as a surprise for anyone to say that my world completely changed in the fall of 2017. My job, many of my relationships, my standing in my own industry, were all gone in just a matter of hours," Spacey says in the video. "I don't often like to tell people that I can relate to their situation because I think it undermines the experience that they may be having, which is their own unique and very personal experience. But in this instance, I feel as though I can relate to what it feels like to have your world suddenly stop."
Spacey goes on to share that he has "empathy" for those currently out of work due to the coronavirus crisis -- a situation he says he relates to because it's one "you have absolutely no control over."
Spacey assumed that many, like him, might be feeling inadequate or struggling to find their identity after the loss of a job. It's an outcome he insisted he knows well.
"I only ever valued myself through my work. I only defined myself through my work. That's who I was," he said.
The actor then implored listeners to use this moment as an opportunity to "turn this into a positive," noting he does not want to "sugarcoat" the seriousness of the pandemic.
"Sure, there may be issues to deal with in your business life but there's nothing more important than your life. I know it may be hard to hear right now but it's at these kinds of moments that we have the chance to remember that the most important thing in life is our health. Our physical health but also our mental health," Spacey continues.
He stressed that evaluating your spiritual and mental health takes time. Without directly referring to his sexual assault scandal in 2016, the actor touched upon the work he's done to "confront traumas I've always denied."
"I'm still in my process but this is a process that has allowed me to ask other questions I've never asked, have conversations I've never had, delve into issues I've long avoided, face truths I kept hidden," he explains. "I hope that you can, too, find out that as painful as these moments are, as difficult as the questions you may ask yourself might be, that you may soon discover a new part of you that has been begging to be heard."
He concluded: "I know, as you sit there in your living room or your office at home, it might feel a long way away but before you know it it's going to be back to business as usual, which is all the more reason to take this moment now to engage in your life in a new way."
Spacey's reputation was questioned a few years back when an 18-year-old man filed a lawsuit claiming the "House of Cards" actor groped him at a bar in Nantucket. The case was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors after the accuser invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify about text messages from the night of the alleged groping that the defense claimed were deleted.
Another case involved the actor facing charges of sexual battery after a massage therapist, referred to as John Doe, filed a lawsuit in September 2018, claiming that the actor grabbed his hand to Spacey's private parts two years prior. The alleged victim also said that the Oscar winner grabbed him by his shoulders in an attempt to kiss him and tried to fondle his genitals.
A trial was set to take place in federal court in June 2020, but the accuser died, reportedly of cancer, on Sept. 6. The actor has since settled the lawsuit with the alleged victim's estate.
If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
Fox News' Jessica Napoli contributed to this report.