Anthony Rapp testified Tuesday in a civil trial against Kevin Spacey about the emotional distress he says the actor has caused him.
“Every time I saw him on the screen I was reminded, I could not escape that memory,” Rapp testified.
Rapp sued Spacey in 2020 for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rapp claims that in 1986, Spacey, then 26, invited Rapp, then 14, to his Manhattan home where he picked Rapp up, laid him down on his bed, grabbed his buttocks and pressed his groin into Rapp’s body without his consent.
Spacey has said he does “not remember the encounter.”
Tuesday was Rapp’s second day of testimony.
Rapp, an actor well known for his work on “Star Trek: Discovery,” said that before he first spoke publicly about the alleged incident to Buzzfeed in 2017, he told several people what had happened, beginning with one of his closest friends from school named Christopher Hart, who is expected to testify in the trial.
“I wanted to tell someone what had happened,” Rapp testified.
Throughout his testimony Tuesday morning, Rapp recalled times when he had seen Spacey, either in films, during award ceremonies, or in person. His first time seeing Spacey after the incident was during his brief appearance in the 1988 film “Working Girl.”
“It was as if somebody had poked me with a cattle prod,” Rapp testified of seeing Spacey on screen.
Rapp said that he felt a rush of adrenaline and his palms would sweat when he saw Spacey. He testified that he continued to watch award shows and movies knowing that Spacey would appear in them because he “felt it was my job to see them” as an actor.
Rapp said he first mentioned the incident with Spacey to his therapist, who he started seeing after his mother died.
“That was something that had never occurred to me as something (to) treat in therapy,” Rapp said.
That same month, Rapp reached out to a reporter who worked for BuzzFeed at the time named Adam Vary, who Rapp considered a friend, and shared his story of the alleged incident with Spacey, at first off the record. Vary then gained his permission to publish the story with Rapp’s name on the record. Rapp testified that he did not see a draft of the article and that he was concerned about public backlash for speaking out.
“That felt safe to me to share it with him,” Rapp testified.
Vary is expected to be called as a witness by Spacey’s legal team.
Rapp said that having to face Spacey for the lawsuit, including coming face-to-face with Spacey on Zoom hearings and in court, has caused him distress and trouble sleeping.
“But maybe by doing so, I could help protect others,” Rapp testified.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan asked a court reporter to strike that line from the record.
Spacey’s attorneys have accused Rapp of having “borrowed” details from a Broadway play he was in that same year the alleged incident took place. In the play, “Precious Sons,” actor Ed Harris carried Rapp, then later laid on top of him while Rapp’s character was asleep.
Rapp testified that he has never confused what happened in the play with his allegations against Spacey.
Spacey’s attorneys will cross examine Rapp next.