Kevin Spacey was found in October not guilty the charges of fellow actor Anthony Rapp alleging Spacey assaulted him. On Saturday, Rapp spoke publicly about the trial for the first time, noting in particular the dangerous dynamic for anyone alleging abuse in court.
“A courtroom is not a safe place for trauma, that’s for sure. So I deeply understand why some people don’t take this approach,” he told scholar and writer Salamishah Tillet at an event in the Brooklyn Museum. “What is proof? How do you prove things? Part of the movement is so much about honoring a story, listening, being a mirror, holding, healing. You talk about these things. These things are not necessarily something a courtroom is even interested in.”
Rapp sued Spacey for psychological harm caused by an incident he claimed happened at a house party in New York City in 1986. A 26-year-old Spacey, he claimed, groped him when he was just 14 years old. After emotional Transcript von Rapp, Spacey invited the teenager to a party at his house when they were both appearing in respective Broadway shows. Arriving at the party, Rapp recalled feeling uncomfortable because he was very young and didn’t know anyone. Finally he went into a room to watch TV by himself. Then Spacey, who was said to be “restless on his feet” and visibly drunk, came and found him, grabbed his butt and lifted him onto the bed. Rapp told the court he was forced to “squirm out” when Spacey Rapp “pinned” under his body and attempted to have sex with him. Rapp did not speak publicly about the alleged incident until a 2017 when he revealed it in a BuzzFeed Interview.
During the two-week trial this year, Rapp called the alleged incident the “most traumatic” event of his life.
“It’s not the only way,” Rapp said of pursuing legal action. “It’s an avenue. I wanted to take the opportunity to see what could be possible.”
Rapp also told Tillet that he had heard of others’ traumatic experiences with Spacey, and it was the testimonies of actors and activists (particularly Tarana Burke and Lupita Nyong’o) who have been leading the Me Too movement in a big way that made him think so urged to take legal action against Spacey.
“Other people had shared with me other incidents they had experienced with Kevin Spacey over the years. I put my experience aside a bit because a lot of the stories I heard were worse,” Rapp told Tillet. “So I didn’t think my experience would necessarily rise to the level of this one. …Especially in Hollywood, probably more so than in New York. It was widespread.”
Though Spacey was found not guilty of battery against Rapp, he still stands before Charged with sexually assaulting three men over a decade ago in London. He pleaded not guilty and is due to go to court there next year. Four more men have accused Spacey of sexual misconduct, but their charges have either been dropped or not pursued.
“This isn’t a team sport where you’re either on the me-too side or the other side,” Spacey’s attorney, Jennifer Keller, said. reminded the court during closing words. “It’s a completely different place. Our system requires proof, evidence and objective support for allegations presented to an impartial jury. As polarized as society is today, it really shouldn’t have a place here.”
But to Rapp’s point, if the sexual assault stats are so unbearable bald and re-traumatization appears inevitable for the overwhelming majority of survivors operating within the criminal justice system, perhaps the courts’ definitions of evidence, evidence and objective support merit review and expansion.
https://jezebel.com/anthony-rapp-kevin-spacey-trial-comments-1849787552 “A courtroom is not a safe place for trauma”