Kevin Spacey Film Producers on Sexual Assault Allegations: 'Negative Press' Is 'to Be Expected'

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Frazer Harrison/BAFTA LA/Getty Images Kevin Spacey

Producers on Kevin Spacey's new film Peter Five Eight are speaking out about the "increased negative press" surrounding new allegations of sexual assault against the actor.

In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the movie's backers said, "While it's unfortunate that increased negative press is timed with Kevin returning to work, it's also to be expected."

The new sexual-assault charges against Spacey, 62, were announced by the U.K.'s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Thursday. They indicated that Spacey faces four charges brought on by three different men.

Two of the alleged incidents occurred in London in 2005, and another two took place in 2008, authorities say. Spacey was also alleged to be part of an additional incident in Gloucestershire in 2013.

The statement to THR from the Peter Five Eight producers continued of Spacey, "There are those who wish for him not to act, but they are outnumbered by fans worldwide who await an artist they have enjoyed for decades returning to the screen."

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Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey

Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images Kevin Spacey

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"The CPS has authorized criminal charges against Kevin Spacey, 62, for four counts of sexual assault against three men," the group's statement read on Thursday. "The CPS has also authorized one charge of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent."

The CPS statement continued, "The authority to charge follows a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation. The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr. Spacey are active and that he has the right to a fair trial."

The producers of Peter Five Eight said in their statement to THR that "The production has no knowledge or comment on the various swirling allegations, and believe it's a matter for the courts to determine validity if it exists."

"Peter Five Eight is a film for fans who care more for the art than the scandal," the statement added.

Spacey's reps have not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment on the allegations.

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Spacey first faced sexual-assault allegations in 2017. At the time, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making sexual advances toward him when he was 14. Responding to Rapp's accusations, the House of Cards alum said he had no recollection of the alleged incident but apologized for "what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior." Spacey then added, "I choose now to live as a gay man."

The timing of Spacey's coming out was heavily criticized by many big stars, including Wanda SykesZachary QuintoRose McGowan and Billy Eichner. Additionally, GLAAD stated that the Oscar winner's declaration shouldn't "deflect" from Rapp's allegations.

The actor was also previously accused of groping a young man at a Nantucket bar in 2016. Both the civil lawsuit and criminal sexual-assault cases were dropped in July 2019.

Spacey then faced additional allegations in 2018 from three other alleged victims in England. The number of sexual-assault allegations against Spacey in London was at six by July 2019, at which time investigations were still ongoing.

That August, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office confirmed to PEOPLE that they were investigating another sexual-assault case involving Spacey in their jurisdiction, but ultimately declined to file charges. According to a declination obtained by Good Morning America, the statute of limitations had expired.

Despite these controversies, director Franco Nero announced in May 2021 that Spacey was cast in the upcoming Italian film, L'uomo Che Disegno Dio, marking Spacey's first movie role since the allegations against him first surfaced.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.