Anthony Rapp’s civic lawsuit trial against Kevin Spacey concluded last month with the jury deciding, after 90 minutes of deliberation, that Spacey was not liable for battery in connection to allegations that he had sexually assaulted the then-teenage actor in 1986. Now, in his first comments since the decision, Rapp has expressed that he owed it to himself to discover where the legal route could take him, even if he were ultimately going up against a system that adds a layer of difficulty for victims to come forward.
“A courtroom is not a safe space for trauma, that is for sure, so I also deeply understand why some people don’t pursue that angle,” Rapp told an audience at the Brooklyn Museum during an event hosted by feminist media company The Meteor. “What is proof? How do you prove things? Part of the movement is so much about honoring a story, listening, being a mirror, being holding, healing. You speak about these things. Those things aren’t necessarily anything that a courtroom is at all interested in. It is not the only avenue. It is an avenue. I did want to avail myself of the opportunity to see what might be possible.”
The 51-year-old actor came forward with his claims against Spacey in 2017, more than three decades after the alleged incident he has described as being an enduring source of trauma. His initial statements came during a flurry of actors revealing their own #MeToo stories, and Rapp was particularly inspired by accounts shared by Tarana Burke and Lupita Nyong’o.
“I had heard other people had shared with me other incidents that they had experienced with Kevin Spacey over the years. I pushed my experience a little bit off to the side because many of the stories I heard were worse. So I didn’t think my experience necessarily rose to the level of those,” Rapp said. “I’ve talked to other especially young actors coming up — especially in Hollywood, more so than New York probably. It was rampant. The lights are on enough that it’s hopefully not happening as often to some of these very vulnerable young men.”
Outside of the civil suit, Spacey is still set to face trial on five sexual assault charges in London in June 2023. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.