Anthony Rapp Loses Lawsuit Against Kevin Spacey

Anthony Rapp has lost his civil lawsuit against Kevin Spacey, whom he accused of sexually assaulting him when Rapp was 14.

The jury deliberated for about one hour and 20 minutes on Thursday. During closing arguments earlier in the day, Spacey’s attorney Jennifer Keller accused Rapp of “trying to hitch his wagon to the #MeToo movement.”

Throughout the trial, the defense accused Rapp of lying due to jealousy of Spacey’s career and a desire to raise his public profile. She urged the jury to consider Rapp’s statements apart from whatever their personal views on the movement might be.

“This isn’t a team sport, where you’re either on the #MeToo side or the other side,” she said.

Rapp’s attorneys, meanwhile, said he had consistently told the truth about what happened from the time he was 14 until he came forward publicly in a BuzzFeed News story in 2017. At the time, he could not take legal action because of the statute of limitations, which changed when New York’s Child Victims Act took effect in 2019.

“Sometimes the simple truth, the simple explanation, is the best explanation,” Rapp’s attorney Richard Steigman said. “This happened, and after all this time, he’s come here to share that truth with you.”

Rapp, best known for his roles in Star Trek: Discovery and the original Broadway cast of Rent, has said he first met Spacey in 1986 while they were both performing on Broadway. One night, according to Rapp, Spacey, then 26, invited him to a party at his apartment. At the end of the night, Spacey allegedly approached Rapp while he was sitting on a bed, picked him up, and climbed on top of him.

“He picked me up like a groom picks up a bride,” Rapp, now 50, said in his testimony, adding that he felt Spacey press “his pelvis into my hip” before he “managed to squirm away” and leave the apartment.

“We’re very to the grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” Keller told BuzzFeed News as she was leaving court on Thursday. Rapp’s attorneys did not comment.

In the days after Rapp first came forward publicly, more than a dozen other people also accused Spacey of sexual misconduct. Among them were Harry Dreyfuss, son of the Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, and a production assistant on Netflix’s House of Cards, which Spacey starred in until he was fired over the numerous allegations against him.

Throughout the trial, Spacey, now 63, has vehemently denied Rapp’s allegations, saying he is “100% confident” the alleged events “never occurred.” But in a statement just after the BuzzFeed News story was published in 2017, Spacey did not claim to be so certain.

“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.”

During his testimony, Spacey said he regrets the statement, which he said two publicists helped him write. Despite his claims that he did not believe Rapp’s allegations were true, Spacey said his publicists told him he “had to take it seriously” and “couldn’t push back” so as not to be called a “victim blamer.”

“I was being encouraged to apologize,” Spacey said. “And I’ve learned a lesson, which is never apologize for something you didn’t do.”

Spacey also came out as gay in the 2017 statement, saying Rapp’s allegations had encouraged him “to address other things about my life.” Many people criticized Spacey for the timing of this announcement, saying he was using it as a deflection tactic.

Spacey testified that he decided to come out at that moment because he “wanted to try to do something positive,” but regretted it “within minutes.” He now understands the criticism, he said, breaking down in tears.

“I have to own that,” Spacey said. “It was really wrong, and really bad, and I’m deeply sorry.”

In the beginning of his testimony, Spacey said his childhood was characterized by a “difficult family dynamic,” and the family moved frequently due to his father’s chronic unemployment. At some point, he said, his father “fell in” with some people who “damaged his mind.”

“My father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi,” Spacey said, adding that this was his first time speaking publicly about it. Due to his interest in theater, Spacey said his father suspected he might be gay and would berate him for it.