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John Travolta makes first public appearance since gay sexual battery accusations

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Travolta was all smiles on Thursday night. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Just weeks after four men accused John Travolta of sexual battery, the actor stepped out for the first time — and with millions of eyes on him. At the AFI Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday night, Travolta stood up on the stage in front of A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, and Meryl Streep to honor Shirley MacLaine, who received the institute's 40th Life Achievement Award. Looking dapper in a tuxedo, the 58-year-old, who did not sit in the audience or walk the red carpet at the event, showed no signs of uneasiness or embarrassment during his speech.

"Several years ago, Warren Beatty was talking about a young actress," began Travolta. "And I said to him, 'What was she like?' And he said, 'She filled the room with presence like I've never seen before.' And I said, 'You know your sister, Shirley? She fills the room with presence.' She fills the world with presence like no one I've ever seen before. And that's my Shirley. And I love you."

In early May, two male masseurs filed $2 million lawsuits against the married-with-children "Pulp Fiction" star, accusing him of sexual battery when they were hired to give him a massage in separate January incidents. In the days that followed, two other men came forward to reveal they had similar run-ins with Travolta, although neither ever filed a lawsuit against him. The first two accusers ended up both dropping their claims and lawyering up with powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred, but have yet to re-file, although she said they would consider it.

All along, Travolta's lawyer Marty Singer has maintained his client's innocence. "The problem in America is anyone can sue anyone. However, in this case this unidentified plaintiff and his lawyer will regret they filed this fabricated suit," asserted Singer. "We intend to sue both of them for malicious prosecution."

So far, that hasn't happened.

The AFI special is set to air on TV Land on June 24.

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