Kevin Spacey will appear in a New York court on Thursday to face a civil lawsuit brought by US actor Anthony Rapp, who has accused the Hollywood star of sexually abusing him when he was 14.
The two-time Oscar-winning star of the stage, cinema and television – whose full name is Kevin Spacey Fowler – has disappeared from public view since he became one of the first performers to be named in the #MeToo movement in October 2017.
Rapp, who currently stars in the Star Trek: Discovery series, turns 51 this month. He filed a complaint in September 2020 against Spacey for advances and an alleged sexual assault at a party in Manhattan in 1986.
Rapp was 14 years old at the time, while Spacey, now 63, was almost twice his age.
Spacey, who has starred in a number of critically acclaimed movies including The Usual Suspects and American Beauty and on the Netflix hit House of Cards, has always denied allegations of sexual abuse.
The #MeToo movement exploded in October 2017, when more than 80 women in the movie industry accused – and ultimately brought down – producer Harvey Weinstein.
At the end of the month, Rapp accused Spacey for the first time, in great detail, in an interview with BuzzFeed News.
The next day, on Twitter, Spacey presented his “sincerest apology” to Rapp for any “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” saying he did not recall the incident.
After a 2020 criminal charge of sexual assault was dismissed by a judge, Rapp filed a civil suit that will see Spacey in a Manhattan courtroom starting on Thursday in a case to be heard by a jury and presided over by Judge Lewis Kaplan.
“Mr Spacey will appear Thursday and throughout the trial. We look forward to his vindication by an impartial jury,” his lawyer Jennifer Keller said.
If found guilty, Spacey faces significant damages.
Spacey has also had to face other charges in both the United States and Britain.
In August, a California judge ordered him to pay almost $31 million to the production company responsible for making the House of Cards series, from which he was fired when accusations of sexual harassment against him emerged. (RTE)