By Mike Bedigan, in New York, PA
Anthony Rapp has denied telling the writer of an article in which he accused Kevin Spacey of an “unwanted sexual advance” to “steer away from specificity”.
The actor said the alleged incident has been “the most traumatic single event” of his life – as he sought to clarify aspects of a fierce cross-examination he faced from Mr Spacey’s legal team on Tuesday.
Mr Rapp claims the advance happened at a party in 1986 when he was 14, an accusation the Hollywood actor has “categorically” denied.
The allegations were first published in a Buzzfeed article by journalist Adam Vary in October 2017.
The court was shown excerpts of a text exchange between Mr Vary and Mr Rapp before publication.
In it, the writer said he could not verify certain aspects of the story and suggested writing parts more vaguely.
Mr Vary suggested the story of the 1986 party also “steer away from specificity”.
“Is this your idea of a reporter of integrity, who would massage a story in this way?” Ms Keller asked Mr Rapp.
“To some degree,” Mr Rapp replied.
Mr Keller asked: “You never told Mr Vary this was dishonest journalism?”
Mr Rapp responded: “No.”
Later, Mr Rapp said he did not tell Mr Vary to steer away from specific dates or be vague with detail, saying he had “no involvement” in the article’s writing.
On Tuesday, the court was told Spacey flirted with a 19-year-old John Barrowman in 1986 at a New York night club before taking him and 14-year-old Mr Rapp back to his apartment.
Mr Spacey and Mr Barrowman got on a bed together, the court heard.
Mr Spacey’s lawyer, Jennifer Keller, said her client’s attention was on Mr Barrowman throughout the evening and “nothing inappropriate” happened.
Mr Spacey had “not offered (Mr Rapp) alcohol” and the pair were never alone together, Ms Keller told the court – which Mr Rapp accepted.
Asked if he believed he was “seen as a tagalong” that evening, Mr Rapp replied: “No.”
On Wednesday, he said he felt “included” in conversations and did not see any flirty behaviour between Mr Spacey and Mr Barrowman.
Later, Mr Rapp’s lawyer Peter Saghir asked him why, out of all his “traumatic” experiences, he chose to speak out about the alleged incident with Mr Spacey.
“Because the memory of that is seared into my memory as what happened in the bedroom with Kevin Spacey,” Mr Rapp replied.
“It was the most traumatic single event… as I have looked back through my life.
“I understand that that experience and the effect it has had on me over time and continues to have… it is distinct from those events because (they) did not have the same lingering impact.”
The hearing is expected to last for two weeks and is being held in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, presided over by Judge Lewis A Kaplan.
In a US civil case, any allegations only need to be proven “on the balance of probability” rather than to the criminal standard of “beyond all reasonable doubt”.