In breaking Hollywood news, earlier this week, a New York jury found disgraced actor Kevin Spacey not guilty on historic sexual abuse charges made by fellow actor Anthony Rapp. Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner, has denied the accusations against him since they first came to light.
Rapp, who was a relatively unknown actor in Broadway plays in the 1980s, alleged that Spacey sexually abused him in 1986 when he was 14 years old. Spacey was 26 at the time. Rapp first made claims in 2017, with the consequent lawsuit seeking USD $40m in damages. Rapp, now 50, and Spacey, 63, each testified over several days at the three-week trial in Manhattan, New York City.
According to a Buzzfeed article from October 2017, Rapp alleged that Spacey had picked him up, placed him on a bed and lay down partially on top of him. “I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually,” he said.
In his closing argument, the lawyer for Rapp, Richard Steigman, urged jurors to conclude that Spacey lied on the stand when he insisted that the encounter could not have happened as Rapp claimed the alleged abuse occurred in a one-bedroom apartment when Spacey lived in a studio.
According to sources, deliberations between jurors of the civil case lasted just over an hour. When the verdict was read, Spacey is said to have dropped his head, and then hugged with lawyers before leaving the courtroom.
“He lacks credibility,” Steigman said. “Sometimes the simple truth is the best. The simple truth is that this happened.”
The high-profile Hollywood case first came to light amid the swirling #MeToo movement in 2017. Spacey, who was at the height of his acting career, was forced to leave his Golden Globe-winning role as Francis Underwood in the Netflix political drama House of Cards, and he was replaced by the late Christopher Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World.
Spacey told the Bits & Pretzels podcast last year that he equated his downfall from sexual misconduct allegations to the struggles of those losing their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In August of this year, a judge ruled that Spacey would pay USD $31m to the producers of House of Cards for the costs they incurred after firing him from the show. Spacey is also facing five separate criminal charges of sexual assault in the UK over a decade ago, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The trial for these charges is set to begin in June 2023.