on the stand

John Barrowman recalls encounter with Kevin Spacey when he was 19

John Barrowman and Kevin Spacey
John Barrowman and Kevin Spacey (Photos: Shutterstock)

Actor John Barrowman testified at the Kevin Spacey court case in New York yesterday.

Fellow actor Anthony Rapp is suing Spacey and seeking $40million in damages. It dates back to an alleged incident at a party Spacey hosted at his New York apartment in 1986. Rapp, then 14, says Spacey, 26, tried to initiate a sexual encounter with him.

Related: Kevin Spacey’s defense team aggressively quiz Anthony Rapp in sexual misconduct trial

Yesterday, lawyers quizzed Barrowman about his own encounters with Spacey, specifically one when he was 19. Barrowman was called as a witness for the defense, reports Deadline.

Barrowman gave a sworn testimony in May 2021. It was played to the court before he took the stand.

He recalled the night he met Spacey. He says Spacey invited him, then aged 19, and Rapp, then 14, to his apartment. Rapp went to the bathroom. When he was out of the room, Barrowman says, “Playfully, Mr. Spacey pushed me back” on the bed. He draped his arm around Barrowman and lay talking to him. Barrowman said the situation was “probably not the best one to be in if Anthony came out of the bathroom.”

Barrowman subsequently pushed Spacey’s arm away and when Rapp returned from the bathroom, said, “We should probably get going.”

“I didn’t want him to be in a situation like that,” Barrowman said on the stand.

Barrowman was asked if he felt threatened by Spacey.

“I was a big boy … I was also, actually, to be honest, quite flattered that an older man was showing any interest in me.

“I felt no threat whatsoever.”

Rapp tells Barrowman of his experience with Kevin Spacey

Barrowman says it was only years later that Rapp told him, over dinner in London, about a second encounter the younger man had at Spacey’s apartment when he says the older actor picked him up, put him on the bed, and laid on top of him.

Spacey’s lawyer asked Barrowman if Rapp spoke with disdain about Spacey on this occasion.

“No, not that I recall. No disdain, no anger. It was a very matter-of-fact conversation about what happened,” replied Barrowman.

Related: John Barrowman addresses his on-set flashing scandal head-on

Rapp is suing Spacey for assault, battery and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Rapp took the stand last week and was aggressively questioned by Spacey’s lawyers, who attempted to throw doubt on his credibility.

Yesterday, Spacey’s lawyers successfully argued for some of the claims to be tossed. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan agreed to drop the charge of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Kevin Spacey calls Rapp’s accusations “not true”

Spacey yesterday took the stand for the first time himself. He said Rapp’s accusations against him are “not true”.

He began by talking about his upbringing, calling his father a neo-Nazi and homophobe who terrorized him.

“My father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi,” Spacey said. “I have never talked about these things publicly. Ever.”

He went on to say, “My father used to yell at me about the idea I might be gay.

“He would scream at me: ‘don’t be a’… he would use an f word that was very derogatory to the gay community.”

Spacey recalled the story to explain some of his reluctance to talk about his sexuality before he decided to come out as gay when Rapp’s accusations surfaced.

Spacey went on to pick holes in Rapp’s recollection of events. He says the apartment he had in 1986 was basically a one-room studio, with a bed in the center. He suggested Rapp’s recall, specifically him carrying the boy to a bedroom, was wrong.

When a Buzzfeed article appeared in 2017 detailing Rapp’s accusations, Spacey says he was advised by publicists to issue an apology, despite having no recollection of the alleged event. He said he regretted doing so.

“I was being encouraged to apologize and I’ve learned a lesson, which is never apologize for something you didn’t do,” he told the court.

Besides this court case, other men have come forward to make allegations against Spacey and he faces a separate criminal trial in the UK.

In August, Spacey was also ordered by a judge in Los Angeles to pay the producers of the Netflix show, House of Cards, $31million to cover losses they incurred after firing him in 2017 after allegations emerged of him sexually harassing crew members.

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