This morning, the royal palace of Norway announced that Ari Behn, the author, and former husband to Princess Martha Louise, died by suicide at the age of 47. King Harald of Norway said:
‘It is with great sadness that the Queen and I have received the message of Ari Behn’s passing. Ari has been an important part of our family for many years, and we carry warm, fond memories of him. We are grateful that we got to know him. We grieve that our grandchildren have now lost their dear father, and have deep compassion for his parents and siblings, who now have lost their dear son and brother. ‘We ask that Ari’s immediate family get some rest during this difficult time.’
Behn was a best-selling author whose first short stories collection Trist som faen (which translates to Sad As Hell) sold a reported 100,000 copies. He also wrote plays, painted, and modeled for a clothing chain. Behn was married to Princess Märtha Louise of Norway for 15 years and the pair had three children together. The princess is a controversial figure in her home country thanks to her new-age views and business dealings, including claiming she can communicate with angels and starting her own alternative therapy center. She is currently in a relationship with the self-described shaman and Goop-approved figure Durek Verrett, and the pair often do business together.
In December 2017, Behn alleged that he had been sexually assaulted by actor Kevin Spacey at a nightclub during the afterparty for the Nobel Peace Prize concert in 2007. Spacey never responded to the claim. It is this particular detail that has seen the news of Behn’s death mired in many conspiracies. Most of the non-Norwegian stories reporting on the story have included Behn’s status as an accuser of Spacey in their headline, probably because it plays better for SEO but is often done at the cost of mentioning his independent career. It’s also set social media ablaze with tweets like this.
For everyone not keeping track, this is the 3rd Kevin Spacey accuser to suddenly and mysteriously die this year https://t.co/DtMn1VtYRK— na'ama. (@iknownaama) December 25, 2019
We live in desperately conspiratorial times so it’s not all that surprising that Behn’s death is being covered in such a way. Post-Epstein, it’s easy for even the most reasonable individual to want to get out the twine and start making connections on their paper-covered walls. Just yesterday, Spacey dropped another bizarre Christmas message on YouTube where he talked about killing enemies with kindness, an act that many found highly offensive and triggering to watch. The video has also come up a lot in relation to Behn’s death, described as being a potential trigger. It’s a conspiracy with lots to be fascinated by, to be sure, but one we should seriously be careful about giving credence to.
Behn talked candidly in the past about dealing with depression and anxiety and even wrote a book about it called Inferno, which was published last year. A review of the book from a Norwegian site describes him as being ‘is terrified and divorced, with a cyst in his ear and devouring anxiety’, and feeling like the public fool following his split. He was in a deeply unenviable position as a public figure attached to the royal family and an ex-wife with some seriously loopy beliefs, all while having to deal with mental health issues in front of a crowd that often proved deeply unsympathetic to him. Death by suicide in the public eye is something that typically brings out the worst in the press and the Spacey connection certainly isn’t helping matters.
On top of that, this conspiracy only empowers Spacey with a kind of otherworldly supervillain-esque force that does a disservice to his alleged victims and the entire societal understanding of how we deal with victims of sexual assault. Spacey is already using his money and fame to bypass the justice system and now he’s aiming to win over the public by playing into his Foghorn Leghorn-style anti-hero image crafted on House of Cards. It only helps him to buy into theories that he is wizard-like in his powers.
Ari Behn leaves behind three daughters who won’t get to grow up with him and now must deal with their father’s death under a harsh public spotlight that’s grown larger than predicted thanks to international interest and this conspiratorial aspect. As easy as it is to buy into this puzzle and dehumanize everyone involved, perhaps it would be best if we left the conspiracies to the mystery writers.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.