On Day 3 of the Kevin Spacey-Anthony Rapp trial Anthony Rapp walked, shoulders slumped, face contorted, seemingly barely able to control his emotions as he trudged toward the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse in New York City yesterday morning. His husband’s attempts to offer comfort to the the Adventures in Babysitting star didn’t elicit any noticeable response.
By contrast, Kevin Spacey, the accused, was flanked by two stone-faced bodyguards as he exited his vehicle, and a small cadre of personal, professional, and legal support personnel completed the protective circle around him. Head held high, the House of Cards actor seemed in full control as he faced day three of his civil trial.
If body language really is a window into the soul of a man, actor Anthony Rapp was not prepared for the day ahead. And considering he would fact face cross-examination by the formidable Jennifer Keller, his appearance seems apropos.
Spacey, however, seemed to stride into battle ready for all comers
Kevin Spacey-Anthony Rapp trial UPDATE: DAY 3: The Plaintiff
In his testimony today, Mr. Rapp’s attorney asked him to contextualize the famous photo of Ed Harris carrying the young Rapp “like a bride over the threshold” in the play Precious Sons. Rapp responded, saying that Ed Harris’ action was “loving, nothing sexual about it.”
This a bizarre description—and the first instance of Mr. Rapp’s seemingly faulty memory on display today. Mr. Rapp appears to have forgotten about the sexual assault his character experiences in the show. In Precious Sons, Harris’ character mistakes young Rapp for his wife, climbs on top of him and “attempts to get with him sexually,” to use Rapp’s words.
This dramatized assault on Mr. Rapp repeated itself eight times a week.
Contradicting the events of the play, minus one point.
Back on Day 1, opening statements by the plaintiff’s team said that, following Precious Sons, Rapp told a friend “back in Illinois” what “Kevin Spacey did.”
But when Rapp’s lawyer questioned his client about when the alleged encounter “came back to [him]” Rapp testified that it was seeing Spacey in the 1988 film Working Girl, that did it, saying It “was like someone poked me with a cattle prod.”
However, we’ve yet to hear anyone say Mr. Rapp shared his story with them his story until at least 1991 (1992, by some accounts).
Minus one point to the plaintiff for failing to follow up on your opening statement claim.
Call of duty
Rapp’s lawyer asks his client: has he seen other performances by Mr. Spacey? Yes, several performances—film, theater, and television—despite the alleged assault.
Why? Mr. Rapp cited professional reasons, “I am an actor. I felt it was my duty to go see them. I steeled myself and tamped it down.”
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
In an odd exchange, when asked if he threw pencils at the screen while watching Kevin Spacey at the Oscars, Rapp confirmed that yes, he did. Rapp claims it’s his “version” of a friend’s habit of throwing a rubber chicken at the screen during Oscar parties,
Does introducing a rubber chicken into your testimony mean plus or minus a point? I leave that up to you.
I have to admit, this one is a head-scratcher.
Mr. Rapp’s attorney brought up the subject of his memoir, “Without You” by asking if he’d “ever written a tell-all book”
Rapp replied that he’d written a “A memoir of love, focused only on the time I was in Rent, the workshop production, the off-Broadway, my mother – a three year period is the main thrust.” It was not, he emphasized, a “tell-all” book.
That statement has a lot of problems.
Without You begins in September 1994, but the stories date back to 1972 and include details of his sexual awakening—so to speak—at age 14.
For example, the 1972 story tells the tale of how baby Rapp managed to save his family from being murdered by the infamous I-57 killer merely by being, well, himself. Rapp’s mother tells a young Rapp that the mere sight of his baby head prevented Henry Brisbon from killing Rapp and his family.
“That guy saw you, and he couldn’t kill a baby… You saved our lives, [Anthony]”
Not even a year old and already a hero.
He also includes the story of the time he “saved their lives” again in 1990 from a deadly tornado by moving out of Joliet to pursue his acting in New York City. “Thank you, Tonio,” his mother tells him. “You saved our lives again.”
Anthony Rapp is apparently the “great savior” of his family, according to the memoir. “And even though she was technically right that there was a good chance our family had adverted [sic] death twice because of me, it was strange to get credit for being a great savior since neither outcome had been my intention.”
Rapp also dedicates an entire chapter in his memoir to his anger issues and makes a point of quoting his mother’s sole caution in response to his admission: “I have such a temper.”
“Well, it’s okay,” Mother Rapp consoles him. “Just don’t hurt anybody.”
Pity he didn’t take his mother’s advice.
During an unprompted moment of questioning from his own lawyer, Rapp strangely brings up a time he slapped his mother “back, hard” when he was a young teen. Then his lawyer seemed to decide this was the perfect time to bring up Rapp’s vicious intimate-partner assault on his then-boyfriend, Josh Safron (Rapp describes both violent incidents in detail in his memoir.)
Let’s be clear here— the attack is vicious.
In Without You, Rapp describes Josh breaking up with him, then turning and walking away. Rapp responds by charging after Josh and sucker-punching him from behind on the back of the head.
Once on the ground, Rapp continues to beat on the man—who, by this time, is cowering and trying to cover his head and face. Rapp’s attack is so intense that he has to be dragged off of Josh by two bigger guys. Yet Rapp manages to break free and charge back for round two.
But in his testimony today, Rapp described the domestic assault in much subtler terms. “[Josh] said, “Never talk to me again. I saw red and I launched myself at him and knocked him down.”
Remember, this was during direct examination, i.e. questioning, from Rapp’s own legal team?
It seemed like Rapp’s attorneys were spending precious moments responding to attorney Keller’s opening marks and attempting to lessen the impact of future defense arguments.
Minus a point for what was that all about?
Kevin Spacey-Anthony Rapp trial UPDATE: DAY 3 Part II: Cross-Examination
Rapp Lies, Exploiting Lupita Nyong’o’s Assault for Leverage
Spacey lawyer, Jennifer Keller, asked the Star Trek: Discovery actor about how he decided to go public with his sexual assault allegations.
Mr. Rapp has previously—and publicly—credited Lupita Nyong’o as the source of his inspiration for going to BuzzFeed with the allegations, saying he “identified with it.”
Keller challenged the altruistic origins of his story directly, asking, “It’s simply not true that her article inspired you, is it?”
“I don’t know how that can’t be true,” Rapp replied.
To help Mr. Rapp combat his apparently increasing memory problems, Keller produced forgotten texts Rapp sent to BuzzFeed listicle writer Adam B Vary—who wrote the article that started the dominoes falling.
On October 11, eight days before Nyongo’s Op-Ed (Oct 19, 2017,) Rapp texted Vary, “I’m wanting to speak about someone else very powerful in our industry.”
Vary’s reply text comes two days later. “I think everyone here wants to be sure your story has the strongest impact possible.”
Rapp claimed, “It was how I remember the events unfolding when I thought back on them.”
Keller challenged, “They weren’t 31 years old, were they?” directly alluding to Rapp’s claims against Spacey.
Keller pointed out that using Nyong’o “would be useful to you to get more sympathy.” Rapp denied her comment, instead saying he “conflated” the Op-Ed and the broader Weinstein #MeToo revelations.
Rapp’s inability or unwillingness to answer the questions put to him also earned admonishment from the judge.
Justice Kaplan reprimanded Rapp numerous times, telling him to answer just the questions he was asked. “This will all go a lot better for you if you just listen to the question and answer the question.”’
Rapp finally admitted, when asked if the op-ed inspired him to speak out, “That was not true.”
Point to the defense.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Keller next focused her attention on the time John Barrowman and Anthony Rapp went to a Sunday matinee of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, starring Kevin Spacey and Jack Lemmon.
Rapp’s lengthy answers earned him another admonishment from Judge Kaplan here, with Rapp ultimately admitting he omitted details about meeting Lemmon until his sworn deposition for this trial.
Keller confronted Rapp with Barrowman’s deposition, which details elements Rapp left out.
One crucial point Rapp seems to have conveniently omitted was that all three went out to dinner together, and later that same evening all three returned to Spacey’s New York City apartment, where they played with Spacey’s dog, Slaight, a full-sized Labrador.
Later, Barrowman said Mr. Spacey was flirting with him and gave him a “gentle push” onto his bed, adding that something (consensual) sexual might have happened that night had young Rapp not been in the adjoining bathroom.
Rapp has previously claimed Mr. Spacey provided him with his address and phone number on a slip of paper and that he went for the first time to Spacey’s apartment for the alleged party.
Keller charged Rapp with the reality that “It was right after Mr. Barrowman was deposed you realized you had a problem with your story,”
“I don’t dispute his story.” Rapp replied, “I just don’t remember it.”
Once again, Mr. Rapp’s memory fails him with exceptional convenience.
The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime
Keller asks Mr. Rapp why he’s never mentioned Slaight, Mr. Spacey’s Labrador. Rapp says simply that he doesn’t remember a dog.
Kevin Spacey is often seen with his dogs and is well-known to love the company of canine companions. And this isn’t a recent habit.
Wherever you find Spacey, you find Slaight. Slaight travels in his own cage and hangs out on sets.Michael E. Hill, February 21, 1988, The Washington Post
Jack Lemmon even recounted an anecdote about Spacey and Slaight during the run of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The dog was backstage during shows.
Like most people who really love dogs, it seems the defendant, Spacey, is very attached to his pooch. Anyone who’s ever been loved by a 60-pound lab knows exactly why.
So, how come Rapp never mentions a dog?
Rapp has said he’s an animal lover, always quick to comment on the ‘intimacy’ of the relationships we have with our animals. If a 14-year-old is at a party where he doesn’t know anyone, befriending the resident dog is not a wild theory—it’s practically irrefutable.
A man who has his dog backstage—DURING a performance is a serious dog dad.
And good for him. Dogs are awesome. You can’t get me to believe that the same guy who won’t leave his dog at home alone when he’s working would somehow get rid of his dog for an entire evening just to have 5-6 people come over.
Point to the defense.
Losing His Religion
One of the most perplexing things about Mr. Rapp is his continual amending of his stories.
Rapp changes details constantly. And not just about this; about everything. Little tweaks here and there to make a better story, perhaps? Listen to interviews he’s done in which he retells an anecdote—it’s never the same twice.
And it’s attracting the eagle-eyed focus of defense attorney Jennifer Keller.
Enquiring Mr. Rapp about how he made it back to his home in New York after the alleged assault, she asks, “You made your way safely home. Was danger lurking?”
Mr. Rapp corrects her by answering, “I wouldn’t say that.”
Aye, there’s the rub.
Ms. Keller reminded the increasingly forgetful Rapp, “But you did, in your deposition, on page 37, lines 18-24.”
She doesn’t offer a vague allusion to something similar; she quotes the page and line with the exact phrase.
Another point to the defense.
This all feels very immature; very 14-year-old-boy-revenge-ish.
I’ve heard firsthand from several people who have worked directly with Mr. Rapp that he is prone to holding a grudge. And perhaps they are right.
Consider the alleged incident from this perspective for just a moment.
Rapp describes his 14-year-old self this way in his memoir:
I had grown restless with mom’s constant presence. I wanted to be an adult now, i didn’t want to have to answer to her or have her follow me around the cityAnthony Rapp, Without You
Now, what if that 14-year-old child gets a visit from his 19-year-old, model-good-looking friend that he thinks he has a chance with? But the model from back home hits it off with the Broadway actor, leaving the little boy alone, rejected, and the object of no one’s attention.
Little boy blue is angry—the way only a 14-year-old boy can be angry—and he swears he’ll get back at the man (Kevin Spacey) who stole the boy he wanted.
Years later, as Spacey’s star begins to rise, Rapp can’t cope. He can’t stomach the bile that rises each time he sees Mr. Spacey in another blockbuster or winning another award—while he jobs for one-off gigs that never lead anywhere. When Rapp first makes his allegations, his only hit—Rent—is still years away.
More than one person who knows Mr. Rapp has confessed to me they “could totally see it happening that way.”
And that makes heaps more sense to me than the elusive, ever-changing tale we saw emerging from the witness stand yesterday.
Kevin Spacey-Anthony Rapp trial UPDATE: DAY 3: Kevin Spacey 2; Anthony Rapp 1Embed from Getty Images
If Day 2 bruised the defense a little, Day 3, they came back with a vengeance.
This post is just over 2,500 words, and I could have pulled another dozen comments worth noting. So many cracks are appearing in the plaintiff’s case, and it seems like they’re already reeling on the ropes.
Day 3 goes to the defense. And I’m inclined to give defense attorney Keller an extra point for all the crap she’s getting on social media for not being “nice.” But for those saying it’s wrong because the judge “doesn’t seem to care”— Really?
You want the judge presiding over a $40 million dollar lawsuit to have a preference before hearing the arguments and evidence?
C’mon, get it together, people! You’re smarter than that!
You can get more details and insight into the trial with the Popping-Culture.com podcast. I’m chatting about the day’s events with editor Adam H. Douglas to dig even deeper into what exactly is going on here between the American Beauty Oscar winner and the Albino Kid.