MANHATTAN (CN) — The actor who says he was just 14 years old when Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted him told his story to a jury Friday, seeking to prove liability in a $40 million federal lawsuit.
Anthony Rapp, who played Mark in the original Broadway cast and film version of “Rent,” told the jury he felt like a “deer in the headlights” during the alleged 1986 incident following a party at Spacey’s Upper East Side apartment.
Spacey would have been 26 at the time. Though he agrees that he met Rapp in 1986, he denies that any assault occurred or that there was even a party.
But in Rapp’s telling, he was the only kid at an adult gathering. He says he went to sit on Spacey’s bed and watch TV. After the other guests had left, he said a visibly intoxicated Spacey approached Rapp, lifted him in the air — both Rapp and his attorney likened it to a groom carrying a bride over the threshold — then placed Rapp back on the bed and climbed on top of him, pressing his groin into Rapp’s hip.
“I was frozen. I was pinned underneath him,” said Rapp, now 50. “I didn't know what to do.”
Rapp said he squirmed out from beneath Spacey and collected himself in the bathroom, before heading for the front door, followed by Spacey.
“That’s when he said, ‘Are you sure you want to leave?’” Rapp testified, to which Rapp replied with some version of, “No, thank you, goodnight.”
On his way home, Rapp said he wondered if he had somehow invited the advance: “How do I just recover from this incredibly upsetting and frightening experience?”
Rapp took the stand after Friday after another witness who testified that Spacey had sexually abused him in the summer of 1981, in his office at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. Spacey was in a production of Henry IV, Part 1, at the time.
Andrew Holtzman said he was on the phone when Spacey walked in and sat at a desk. When he stood up, Holtzman testified: “I noticed that he was wearing very tight blue jeans and through the blue jeans was a very clear, large erection.”
Spacey approached Holtzman, he said.
“There were a lot of thoughts swimming in my head. I began to stand up and he was there, kind of on top of me,” Holtzman testified. “He sort of lifted me up by my crotch and pushed me back on my desk.”
Holtzman said he screamed at Spacey to get off of him, but his office was isolated from others in the building, and Spacey pushed his groin against Holtzman’s, before leaving the office in anger.
“This experience, and I assume others, is almost a blur, the way it works,” Holtzman explained, his voice shaking. “Everything is happening in slow motion.”
Like Rapp, Holtzman said he blamed himself following the encounter — an outlier in the cordial and close-knit New York theater community — and was fearful of Spacey. Both men described incidents that took place fully clothed.
Rapp’s attorney Peter Saghir asked his client to respond to those who may downplay the allegations.
“There’s a lot of people who may say, ‘That’s all that happened. What’s the big deal?’” said Saghir, of the firm Gair, Gair, Conason.
“I was this 14-year-old child,” Rapp replied. “I had no desire to have any kind of experience like this in my life.
“It was incredibly frightening and very alarming and totally antithetical to anything else I had experienced around the community of people that I loved being a part of,” Rapp continued. “I did feel fortunate that that 14-year-old boy did have the wherewithal to get away, so I’m grateful, but I also feel like he never should have had that experience.”
During opening statements Thursday, an attorney for the 63-year-old Spacey, whose full name is Kevin Spacey Fowler, accused Rapp of inventing the story for attention — as well as bitterness and anger toward Spacey for keeping his sexuality a secret.
“He saw him as a fraud,” said Jennifer Keller, of Keller/Anderle in Irvine, Calif. “He felt there were things he could be doing for the gay community if he came out.”
Spacey did disclose his sexuality publicly in the wake of Rapp’s allegation, which went public in 2017 at the height of the #MeToo movement.
“I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man,” Spacey wrote on Twitter, further fueling controversy surrounding the allgation.
Spacey’s attorney meanwhile asked the jury to put aside both men’s sexuality.
“Whether it’s a 14-year-old boy or a 14-year-old girl should make no difference in this courtroom,” said Saghir, of the New York firm Gair Gair Conason.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan is presiding.Follow @NinaPullano
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