Testifying in a Manhattan federal courtroom on Tuesday, Anthony Rapp spoke of the enduring trauma he’s experienced in the more than 30 years since Kevin Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted him.
Rapp has brought a civil lawsuit against Spacey, who he says assaulted him when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. Earlier in his testimony, which concluded Tuesday after beginning last week, Rapp said he and Spacey first met in 1986, while they were both acting on Broadway. One night, he said, Spacey invited him to a party at his apartment, at the end of which the older actor entered a bedroom where Rapp was watching TV, lifted him onto the bed, and climbed on top of him.
“He picked me up like a groom picks up a bride,” Rapp testified, adding that he felt Spacey press “his pelvis into my hip” before he “managed to squirm away” and left.
Rapp, best known for his roles in Star Trek: Discovery and the original Broadway cast of Rent, first spoke publicly about the alleged incident in a BuzzFeed News story in 2017. In the days that followed, more than a dozen other people also accused Spacey of sexual misconduct. Among them was Harry Dreyfuss, son of the Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, and a production assistant on Netflix’s House of Cards, of which Spacey was the star until he was fired over the numerous allegations against him.
In the decades since the alleged incident, Rapp, now 50, said he frequently worried about when he and Spacey might cross paths again. When Rapp saw the film Working Girl in 1988, he said, he hadn’t known Spacey was in it, and he recalled his body suddenly filling with adrenaline and his palms growing sweaty. “It was as if someone poked me with a cattle prodder,” he said.
Rapp said he often had to emotionally prepare himself before watching one of Spacey’s movies. But seeing American Beauty — the 1999 movie in which Spacey plays an adult man having a relationship with a teenage girl — was particularly disturbing.
“It felt unpleasantly familiar,” Rapp said. “It was upsetting.”
Rapp said he told numerous friends about his experience with Spacey over the years. The two saw each other in person a few times — once running into each other in the restroom at the 1989 Tony Awards — but never spoke.
Seeing him in person again during the court proceedings has been “extremely difficult,” Rapp said. Tuesday morning, shortly before Rapp finished testifying, he saw Spacey while waiting in line to enter the courthouse. Just like when he saw him in Working Girl, Rapp said he felt like he was being jabbed with a cattle prodder all over again.
The trial has weighed heavily on him, he said, but he hopes that by doing so “maybe [he] could help protect others."
In an April court filing, Spacey “categorically” denied Rapp’s allegations, calling them “absolutely false” and stating that he “never had a sexual encounter with Mr. Rapp.”
But in a statement immediately after Rapp’s 2017 accusation, Spacey did not deny the incident had occurred but said he does not remember it and apologized to Rapp “for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
“I’m beyond horrified to hear this story,” Spacey said at the time. “I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Spacey also came out as gay in his statement, saying Rapp’s allegations had encouraged him “to address other things about [his] life.” Many criticized the announcement, saying Spacey was using it to deflect from the allegations against him.