Kevin Spacey appeared in court on Thursday to defend himself in a lawsuit filed by Anthony Rapp, the actor who made the first of a series of sexual misconduct allegations against the House of Cards star in 2017.
The trial, which is expected to last less than two weeks, will centre on an alleged encounter between the two men in New York City in 1986, when Rapp was a budding child actor and Spacey, then 26, was making his Broadway debut.
Spacey allegedly took Rapp, who was 14 at the time, to a party at his Manhattan apartment before attempting to seduce him in a bedroom after the other attendees had left.
He described Spacey as a drunken man who placed him on a bed and then swept him up in his arms like a groom carrying a bride. Rapp claimed that after fleeing quickly, he remained silent for three decades while both actors’ careers flourished.
In 2017, as the #MeToo movement began to sweep Hollywood, Rapp reported his experience to Buzzfeed. Spacey claimed to have no memory of the encounter, but added, “If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the deepest apology for what would have been extremely inappropriate intoxicated behaviour.”
However, Spacey’s legal counsel has now asserted that the charge is untrue. They said Rapp didn’t show up to the event. They have maintained that even if it had happened exactly as Rapp said, it wouldn’t have been a sexual approach.
Opening comments for the trial will come after the jury selection process on Thursday. Rapp is seeking damages for his physical, mental, and emotional pain as well as lost wages and medical costs. The 63-year-old Spacey faces a challenging time with the trial.
He pleaded not guilty three months ago in London to charges that he sexually assaulted three men between 2004 and 2015 while serving as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.
This summer, a judge in Los Angeles upheld an arbitrator’s decision to order Spacey to pay $30.9 million to the creators of the Netflix show House of Cards for breach of contract by sexually harassing crew members. These setbacks came after some victories for Spacey, who has recently resumed acting in films.
2019 saw the dismissal of indecent assault and battery charges brought by Massachusetts prosecutors after a man alleged Spacey had molested him in a Nantucket nightclub. Spacey said he was blameless. A civil lawsuit was also abandoned by his accuser. In the 1999 movie “American Beauty,” in which he portrayed a disgruntled suburban parent who has feelings for the best friend of his adolescent daughter, Spacey received an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Rapp, who appeared in movies like “Adventures in Babysitting” as a youngster, was a member of the original Broadway cast of “Rent,” and he currently has a regular role on the television series “Star Trek: Discovery.”
Rapp and Spacey are both anticipated to testify throughout the trial. A psychologist who thinks Rapp is currently suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the meeting with Spacey will probably be one of the other witnesses.