Kevin Spacey denies Anthony Rapp abuse claim, regrets apology

KEVIN SPACEY in a scene from the drama series House of Cards. — NETFLIX/IMDB.COM

NEW YORK — Kevin Spacey said in court on Monday that he regretted apologizing to actor Anthony Rapp over claims that the Oscar winner made an unwanted sexual advance in 1986 when Rapp was 14.

Mr. Rapp, now 50, sued Spacey in 2020 for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and testified earlier this month that an intoxicated Mr. Spacey — then 26 and acting on Broadway — climbed on top of him at a party at his Manhattan apartment. Mr. Rapp, at the start of his own Broadway career at the time, said he was able to “swerve my way out” but that the experience scarred him.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan earlier on Monday dismissed Mr. Rapp’s emotional distress claim, but allowed the battery claim to stand.

Mr. Spacey took the stand in his own defense in Manhattan federal court and said the allegation was “not true,” and that he had never been alone with Mr. Rapp. He testified that he was “shocked” when Mr. Rapp went public with his claim in a 2017 article in Buzzfeed. Following the article, Mr. Spacey released a statement in which he came out as gay and apologized to Mr. Rapp for any inappropriate behavior.

On Monday, Mr. Spacey said he now regrets his apology.

“I have learned a lesson, which is never apologize for something you didn’t do,” Mr. Spacey said. “I regret my entire statement,” he added.

Mr. Spacey broke down in tears, saying that he wanted to do something positive by coming out but was viewed as trying to change the subject from Mr. Rapp’s abuse claim

“I would never have done anything to hurt the gay community,” he said. “I’m deeply sorry.”

Mr. Spacey is scheduled to be cross-examined when the trial resumes on Tuesday.

Mr. Rapp, who starred in the Broadway musical Rent, sued Mr. Spacey in November 2020, seeking $40 million in damages. Last week, Mr. Spacey’s lawyer challenged Mr. Rapp’s memory of the 1986 incident during cross-examination, questioning him on why he described the encounter as having occurred in a bedroom when Mr. Spacey lived in a studio at the time.

Mr. Spacey won Oscars for performances in American Beauty and The Usual Suspects, but his career largely ended after more than 20 men accused him of sexual misconduct. Netflix dropped him from its political drama series House of Cards and Christopher Plummer replaced him in the role of J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World weeks before the movie’s scheduled release in 2017.

Mr. Spacey faces a criminal trial in London next year after pleading not guilty to five sex offense charges over alleged assaults between 2005 and 2013. — Reuters