Kevin Spacey is currently on trial in New York on charges of sexual misconduct — but no criminal charges.
The Hollywood star is being sued in a civil case by stage and screen actor Anthony Rapp over an alleged incident nearly 40 years ago.
Following a jury selection in early October, a multi-million dollar lawsuit trial is underway, SpaceyAged 63, at a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.
In U.S. civil cases, any charge only needs to be proven “on the balance of probabilities,” not the criminal standard of “beyond all reasonable doubt.”
The lawsuit, presided over by Judge Lewis Kaplan, is expected to last about two weeks in total. Here’s everything you need to know so far.
Charges Against Spacey
Rapp, 50, accused Spacey of sexual misconduct in 1986, when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey “categorically denies” the allegations.
The young actor said he attended a party at Spacey’s Manhattan apartment when he was performing in the Broadway play “Baby Son.” Spacey was co-starring in another Broadway play, The Long Night’s Journey.
Rapp claims that at the end of the party, a drunk Spacey picked him up, put him on the bed, and climbed on top of him before he was able to leave and leave the apartment.
He filed a lawsuit in 2020 and is seeking up to $40 million (£35.9 million) in compensatory and punitive damages.
After the allegations broke, Spacey was dropped from the already-completed film “All the Money in the World” and replaced by Christopher Plummer as J Paul Getty. He was also fired from the political drama series House of Cards.
He will appear in the upcoming film Peter Fifty-Eight, the thriller and Franco Nero-directed drama The Man Who Painted Gods.
Who is Anthony Rapp?
In an October 2017 interview with BuzzFeed, Rapp was the first to publicly accuse Spacey of sexual assault.
A child actor who made his Broadway debut at age 10, he appeared in shows including Six Degrees of Separation and You Are a Good Guy Charlie Brown. He also played Mark Cohen in the original cast of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent.
Film credits include The Nanny, A Beautiful Mind, Dazed and Confused, and the current Paramount+ series, Star Trek: Discovery.
What did Rapp say in court?
Speaking of the alleged incident, Rapp said: “I’m frozen…I don’t know what to do.”
He told the court he was joined by an intoxicated-looking Spacey after other guests had left after he went into the bedroom to watch TV and stay away from adults.
Rapp said Spacey had “the full weight” of his chest and groin on him before he managed to leave.
When asked how he would respond to anyone who downplayed the seriousness of what allegedly happened, he described himself as a frightened child trying to fend off an adult.
He later told the court that he went on to watch Spacey in a number of films.
“I’m an actor and I love movies – they’re critically acclaimed and award-winning,” he said. “I feel like seeing them is part of my job and I know he’s in it so I can be prepared.
“I feel like it’s my responsibility as an actor, as a person, as part of this community – I have to push that aside.”
He also denied telling the author of the BuzzFeed article, Adam Vari, to “avoid reification” and said the alleged misconduct was the “most painful single incident” of his life.
What did Spacey say?
The actor “categorically denied” the allegations and said he “had no sexual interest or desire in Mr Rapp at the time of or after the incident”.
Spacey’s lawyers said in a legal filing that Rapp’s “allegations are simple, false, and never happened.”
Attorney Jennifer L. Keller suggested that Rapp sue because he was angry with his career.
“As an openly gay man, he became miserable because he didn’t get parts,” she said.
Spacey has yet to provide evidence.
Who else testified?
Rapp’s lawyers called the first witness, a 68-year-old man.
He told the court he was working in the offices of the New York Shakespeare Festival in the summer of 1981 when Spacey walked in and sat at a spare desk used by actors and others.
He claims Spacey walked up to him, sexually aroused and grabbed him.
What else has the court said so far?
Television presenter and actor John Barrowman was also mentioned at the hearing, and Spacey flirted with the then 19-year-old in 1986, but “nothing inappropriate happened,” Spacey’s attorney told the court.
The court heard that Spacey had invited Torchwood star and high school friend Rapp to his apartment before the alleged incident at the trial centre.
Ms Keller said they had dinner together and her client had been keeping an eye on Barrowman throughout the evening.
She cited part of Barrowman’s testimony, which has not been made public, that after returning to Spacey’s apartment, the pair lay in bed but did not engage in any sexual activity because of Rapp’s presence.
The trial continues.