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From the witness stand, Kevin Spacey denies sex abuse claims

Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at Federal court for his civil lawsuit trial on Oct. 12 in New York. Spacey is facing a jury in a New York City courtroom during a civil trial accusing him of sexually abusing a 14-year-old actor in the 1980s when he was 26.
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at Federal court for his civil lawsuit trial on Oct. 12 in New York. Spacey is facing a jury in a New York City courtroom during a civil trial accusing him of sexually abusing a 14-year-old actor in the 1980s when he was 26.

Updated October 17, 2022 at 5:20 PM ET

NEW YORK — Kevin Spacey testified in a New York courtroom Monday that he never made a sexual pass at the actor Anthony Rapp, who has sued, claiming the Academy Award-winning actor tried to take him to bed when he was 14.

Identifying himself as "Kevin Spacey Fowler," the actor was asked about Rapp's claims that a then-26-year-old Spacey picked him up like a groom does a bride after a 1986 party and put him on his bed before lying on top of him.

Rapp testified earlier in the trial that he squirmed out from underneath Spacey in the fully clothed encounter before fleeing the apartment, only to have Spacey follow him to the door and ask if he was sure he wanted to leave.

"They are not true," Spacey said of the allegations.

Spacey said he had met Rapp and another aspiring actor, John Barrowman, backstage following Spacey's Broadway performance in Long Day's Journey into Night. He said he took them to dinner, to a nightclub and finally to his studio apartment, where he flirted with Barrowman — who was 19 at the time — but showed no interest in Rapp before the two visitors left.

"Anthony Rapp seemed like a kid and John Barrowman seemed like a man," Spacey said in an account that was backed up by a deposition by Barrowman.

Rapp has testified that he and Barrowman went home immediately after the nightclub outing and that it was days later before Spacey invited him to the apartment for the first time. He said Spacey waited for the other guests at the party to leave before making a move on him.

Spacey also described his dismay over a 2017 news report in which Rapp went public with his allegations.

At the time, with the #MeToo movement gaining momentum, "The industry was very nervous. There was a lot of fear in the air about who was going to be next," he said.

He added: "I was shocked. I was frightened and I was confused. ... I knew I had never been alone with Anthony Rapp."

He also told jurors that he never had "any sexual interest in Anthony Rapp or any child. That I knew."

Spacey dabbed his eyes as he described being pressured into making a statement saying he didn't remember anything happening with Rapp, but would be sorry "if" it was somehow true. His managers said "it was the best way to contain "a crisis that was going to get worse" and to avoid being accused of "victim shaming," he said.

Now, he added, "I regret my entire statement."

Spacey also was asked if he has been private about his personal life over his career.

"I grew up in a very complicated family dynamic," he said, explaining that rants by his father when he was a youngster led him to hate bigotry and intolerance.

"My father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi," Spacey said. "It meant that my siblings and I were forced to listen to hours and hours of my father lecturing us about his beliefs."

Spacey called it "humiliating and terrifying when friends came over to the house" because he was never sure what his father might say to them or to him.

"Everything about what was happening in that house was something I had to keep to myself. We never, ever, talked about it. I have never talked about these things publicly ever," he said.

As Spacey became interested in theater, he said, he endured the screams of his father who "used to yell at me at the idea that I might be gay."

Spacey's testimony began two hours after Judge Lewis A. Kaplan threw out a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress after lawyers for Rapp finished their presentation of evidence. Kaplan said elements of the claim duplicate Rapp's claim that he was a victim of assault and battery.

Spacey's lawyer argued for dismissal of the case on the grounds that Rapp's attorneys had failed to prove his claims.

Kaplan said the trial can proceed with assault and battery claims asserted by Rapp, a 50-year-old regular on Star Trek: Discovery on television. He was part of the original Broadway cast of Rent.

Spacey, 63, was an Oscar-winning actor popular on the Netflix series House of Cards when claims by Rapp and others in 2017 abruptly derailed his career.

Rapp was performing in Precious Sons on Broadway in 1986 when he met Spacey.

Rapp testified over several days earlier in the trial, which entered its third week on Monday.

The Associated Press does not usually name people alleging sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Rapp has done.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press
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