UPDATE: The federal jury in Kevin Spacey’s sexual abuse trial ruled late Thursday that Spacey is not liable for battery against Anthony Rapp. The jury of five men and six women deliberated for just under 90 minutes before returning their verdict.
NEW YORK — An emotional Kevin Spacey testified in a New York courtroom Oct. 17 that he never made a sexual pass at the actor Anthony Rapp, who has sued for millions of dollars in damages, claiming the Academy Award-winning actor tried to take him to bed when he was 14.
Repeatedly, Spacey denied Rapp’s claims that a then-26-year-old Spacey picked him up like a groom does a bride after a 1986 party at his Manhattan apartment and put him on his bed before lying on top of him.
Rapp testified earlier in a civil trial in which he accuses Spacey of assault and battery that he squirmed out from underneath an inebriated Spacey in the fully clothed encounter before fleeing, 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, first made in 2017 in an interview with Buzzfeed. The accusations, along with more made by others, brought to an end Spacey’s popular role on the Netflix series House of Cards and abruptly derailed his career.
Spacey, 63, dabbed tears from his eyes with a tissue and sniffled as he described immediate intense pressure from publicists and lawyers to respond with compassion and empathy and an apology to Rapp’s claims.
“They told me I couldn’t push back on the story,” Spacey recalled. “I knew I wouldn’t have any sexual interest in Anthony Rapp or any child. That I knew.”
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,” Spacey said, adding, “I was shocked. I was frightened and I was confused. … I knew I had never been alone with Anthony Rapp.”
After the article, the two-time Oscar winner said on Twitter that he didn’t recall the encounter with Rapp, adding, “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 said his managers told him “it was the best way to contain a crisis that was going to get worse” and to avoid being accused of “being a victim shamer,” he said.
Spacey told jurors he now regrets “my entire statement. … I’ve learned a lesson, which is never apologize for something you didn’t do,” he said.