Kevin Spacey is speaking out for the first time to address the “painful” and “bleak and horrible” time he’s had since being accused of sexual assault by multiple men in 2017.

Comparing his experience of job loss to the coronavirus pandemic, Spacey says he knows “what it feels like to suddenly be told you can’t go back to work” in the self-pitying 10-minute video. As well, Spacey, 60, says he knows what it is like to “suddenly find yourself in a situation you could not possibly have prepared for or anticipated it was coming.”

“I don’t think it will come as a surprise for anyone to say that my world completely changed in the fall of 2017,” he says in the interview for the German conference Bits & Pretzels, held virtually this year. Past speakers at the conference have included Richard Branson and Barack Obama. The actor also sent well-wishes to viewers during the pandemic, praised healthcare and frontline workers, and thanked the conference for the opportunity to speak.

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“My job, many of my relationships, my standing in my own industry, were all gone in just a matter of hours,” he says in the video intended as a motivational speech to startup founders and entrepreneurs.

Dressed in a blue shirt and vest, Spacey adds, “And so while we may have found ourselves in similar situations, albeit for very different reasons and circumstances, I still believe that some of the emotional struggles are very much the same.”

While the accusations against Spacey were made public in 2017, his alleged sexual assaults date back to the 1980s. The actor has made two cryptic YouTube videos since his accusers came forward. In each video, he adopted the persona of his “House Of Cards” character Frank Underwood.

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Admitting it has been “a long time” since he’s spoken to anyone while he’s been sequestered at his home with his dog Boston, Spacey says he “never really stopped and looked closer” at his life until the accusations brought his career to a sudden stop.

“All I ever wanted to do was act,” he states.

“When my career came to a grinding, screeching halt, when I was faced with the uncertainty that I might never be hired as an actor again, I had to ask myself a question I’d never asked myself before which is, ‘If I can’t act, who am I?'” the Oscar winner says.

“It’s at these kinds of moments that the most important thing to remember is that we have our health,” he says. “Our physical health but also our mental health. The health of our family, of our children, our parents if we’re still lucky enough to have them with us.”

Encouraging viewers that “it will get better,” Spacey says he’s still in the “process” of evaluating his life.

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“This is a process that will allow me to ask other questions I’d never asked. Have conversations I’d never had. Delve into issues I’ve long avoided. Face truths I’d kept hidden and confront traumas I’d always denied,” he says, adding that he hopes people can discover “a new part of you that’s begging to be heard.”

Spacey, whose accusations run from lewd conduct to unwanted groping and sexual assault, has denied any criminal behaviour. One of Spacey’s accusers has since died, leading authorities to drop their case, while another charge of indecent assault and battery was dropped in July of last year.

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