Actor Kevin Spacey is back on the witness stand today for cross-examination in his civil sexual assault trial, following several hours of questioning by his lawyer on Monday in which he denied ever being alone with his accuser and told jurors his father was a neo-Nazi who equated his son’s interest in theater with possible homosexuality.
“He would use an F word that is very derogatory to the gay community. I won’t say it here in court, but it was very disturbing for me, as I was just beginning to discover my own feelings about sexuality,” Spacey testified, according to a court reporter’s transcript.
Spacey said he’d “never talked about these things publicly ever,” until his lawyer Chase Scolnick questioned him about his childhood and the privacy that his accuser, Anthony Rapp, likened to “living in the closet” during his own testimony last week.
The questions led to Spacey testifying about his dismay at rumors that had been swirling on the Internet about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein because he’d flown to South Africa with former President Bill Clinton on a plane “donated by a man named Jeffrey Epstein.”
“I was now being talked about as if I knew Jeffrey Epstein, as though I was some important and powerful friend of his, and because I’d been on this airplane, I had actually flown to what was being called Pedo Island,” Spacey testified. “And while it is true that I met Jeffrey Epstein on that trip, I never saw him again, and I have never been to any island.”
Spacey also mentioned rumors connecting him to the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed a child sex ring was operating in the basement of a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C.
“They believed that me and Hillary Clinton and Anderson Cooper eat babies and were a part of this ring,” Spacey said.
“I don’t think I have to ask you, but I’m assuming those are false allegations, right?” asked Scolnick, a partner with Keller/Anderle LLP in Irvine, California.
“They are completely false allegations, yes,” Spacey answered.
Spacey referenced the rumors in an Oct. 29, 2017, social media post he wrote after a BuzzFeed news article published in which Rapp first publicly accused Spacey of sexual assault in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. While Spacey now says he’s sure the incident never happened and that he’d never been alone with Rapp, the Oscar-winning actor had apologized to Rapp in his post shortly after the BuzzFeed article. Much of Scolnick’s exam on Monday appeared aimed at both refuting Spacey’s statement and explaining why he essetnially confessed to Rapp’s accusation but now says he’s positive he’s being falsely accused.
“Kevin, did you feel any pressure to issue a public statement on Oct. 29, 2017?” Scolnick asked.
“Yes,” Spacey answered. “Why?” Scolnick asked.
“I was being advised that if I ignored it, I would be accused of having something to hide, that if I didn’t put out a statement, it would not look good, and that I was encouraged I had to put out a statement that day. There was even people who wanted me to put out a statement before the article got printed, that I resisted that because I felt that maybe when the article actually got printed, I could learn more information that I didn’t have from the email from Adam Vary [the reporter who wrote the BuzzFeed article],” Spacey answered.
“At the time you issued your statement, did Mr. Rapp’s allegations make sense to you?” Scolnick asked.
“No,” Spacey answered.
“Did you want to learn more about what he was claiming?” Scolnick asked.
“Yes,” Spacey answered.
Spacey went to say that he realized in February 2018 that Rapp’s story couldn’t be true after researching where he’d been living in 1986, the layout of the apartment and Rapp’s description of events. Scolnick referenced Rapp’s lawyer’s claim in his opening statement that Spacey has changed his story about Rapp’s allegations.
“Is that true?” Scolnick asked.
“No,” Spacey answered.
“Why is it not true?” Scolnick asked.
“Well, I didn’t have a story about Anthony Rapp. I had no recollection of what he alleged. And now I know that what he alleged never occurred. So, my story has not changed,” Spacey answered.
Spacey testified about spending time with both Rapp and actor John Barrowman one night in 1986, but he said he was enver alone with Rapp and was instead flirting with Barrowman. Rapp “was a kid in a play, that’s what I remember,” while Barrowman “was very handsome.”
“He was charming. He had a sense of humor. Yeah, I was quite captivated by John Barrowman,” Spacey testified.
The testimony is corroborated by a letter Barrowman wrote Spacey in 1998 after watching him in a play in London: Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. In it, Barrowman mentions the 1986 night that’s at issue in trial. The passage at trial allude to another legendary work O’Neill.
Scolnick read some of it aloud: “The last time I saw you live on stage was on Broadway in Long Day’s Journey into Night. You were kind enough to entertain myself and my friend Anthony Rapp after the performance. My mother still talks about the lengthy conversation she had with you on the phone two days later.”
Regarding the state of the industry in 2017, Spacey said: “I think my industry and society was reeling.”
“There had just been a series of accusations made against Harvey Weinstein that were devastating, and I think frightened a lot of people, and in particularly, the women who came forward to describe what had happened to them showed enormous courage and bravery,” Spacey said. “But at the same time, the industry was never nervous, and I think there was a lot of fear in the air about who was going to be next. And so there was a lot of people concerned.”
Spacey called the #MeToo movement “an incredibly important seismic shift in our society, and that the reason I think it had impact is because the journalists at the New York Times and The New Yorker investigated the claims against Mr. Weinstein for over a year before they went to print. I think that is one of the reasons it had the impact it had,” Spacey said.
(Image: photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
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