Kevin Spacey took the stand on Monday and began his defense against allegations that he sexually assaulted actor Anthony Rapp by claiming his father was a neo-Nazi and white supremacist. Rapp, who said the alleged sexual misconduct occurred when he was 14 years old and Spacey was 26, has brought a civil lawsuit against the older actor.
Spacey has only just begun testifying. Before the courtroom broke for lunch, he had spoken very little about Rapp’s claims beyond saying “they are not true.” Much of his testimony thus far has focused on his difficult childhood and how he got his start as an actor, at times chuckling over the memories.
Earlier in the trial, Rapp testified that he and Spacey met while they were both acting on Broadway. One night in 1986, he said, Spacey invited him to a party at his apartment, at the end of which he approached Rapp while he was sitting on a bed, “picked [him] up like a groom picks up a bride,” and climbed on top of him.
Rapp, best known for his roles in Star Trek: Discovery and the original Broadway cast of Rent, first spoke publicly about the alleged incident in a BuzzFeed News story in 2017. In the days that followed, more than a dozen other people also accused Spacey of sexual misconduct. Among them was Harry Dreyfuss, son of the Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, and a production assistant on Netflix’s House of Cards, of which Spacey was the star until he was fired over the numerous allegations against him.
In his testimony Monday, Spacey said his early life was characterized by a “difficult family dynamic.” His father was frequently unemployed, so they moved around a lot. At one point, Spacey said, his dad fell in with some people who “damaged his mind.”
“My father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi,” Spacey said, saying his father would lecture him about his racist beliefs for “hours and hours.” The disclosure was reminiscent of a plotline on House of Cards, in which his character’s late father is found to have ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
“I have never talked about these things publicly — ever,” Spacey said of his admission.
Spacey said his father may have suspected he was gay because of his interest in theater and that he would berate him for it. “He would use an f-word that is very derogatory to the gay community. I won’t say it in court,” he said.
Earlier on Monday, Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed to dismiss Rapp’s claim of emotional distress, ruling that it was duplicative of his battery claim, which still stands. This move could lower any damages that might be awarded.
Spacey is expected to resume testifying Monday afternoon.