Five years before Kevin Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted 14-year-old Adam Rapp after a 1986 party, a New York public film coordinator claims the actor lifted him “by the crotch” during the work day.
“He was wearing tight blue jeans and through the jeans, I very clearly saw a very large erection,” Andrew Holzman testified in Manhattan federal court on Friday. “He sort of lifted me up by my crotch and sort of pushed me back on my desk.”
Holzman, 68, told jurors that Spacey “said nothing” as he pushed his erection “near my groin” during the 1981 incident inside his office at the Astor Library, where he worked for the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre. After a few moments, Holzman said, and angry Spacey “relented” before he stormed out of the office.
“He had this look in his eyes, on his face that was angry,” Holzman said, adding that after Spacey allegedly stormed out he sat back down at this desk. “I was shaking, I didn’t know what had just happened.”
The revelation came on the second day of testimony in the civil trial in Manhattan federal court between Kevin Spacey and Anthony Rapp. In the civil $40 million lawsuit, Rapp alleges that Spacey sexually assaulted him after a Manhattan party in 1986—when he was just 14 years old. Jurors will be tasked in the civil case with deciding whether Spacey is liable for Rapp’s claims of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress after the American Beauty actor allegedly assaulted Rapp at a Manhattan party almost four decades ago.
Holzman was the first person to testify on Rapp’s behalf in the trial, five years after the actor first detailed his claims in a bombshell Buzzfeed article. The now-retired event marketer for the Discovery Network said that he was 27 years old when he started working as a film coordinator in the Lower East Side building. He describes how there were two desks in his large office and that the second was often used by producers, actors, or “anyone that was running around the public library” that needed a place to sit.
In the summer of 1981, Holzman said that he was working when Spacey walked into the office and “beelined to the guest desk.” After taking off his thin windbreaker, he said Spacey—who was just about to start his role in Henry IV Part:1 in Shakespeare in the park—noticed Holzman finishing up a phone call and “stood up.”
Without a word, Holzman said that Spacey walked over to him and grabbed him by the groin, pushing him back into his desk “for leverage.” The whole incident, he said, was only a few moments.
“I started to blame myself,” Holzman said about the “scary” incident but admitted he did not tell any of his supervisors about what had occurred.
Holzman first detailed his allegations in 2017, shortly after Rapp’s article that spurred Spacey to release a statement indicating he did not remember the alleged encounter while offering an apology “for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” Since Rapp’s allegations, an avalanche of allegations against the House of Cards actor followed, dating back decades and involving mostly young and underaged men. Spacey repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing and had seemingly dodged all legal percussions in the United States for his actions—until Rapp’s trial.
During opening statements, Rapp’s lawyer Peter Saghir described to jurors the 1986 incident he called “wrong and quite frankly unacceptable.” He alleged Spacey had invited Rapp to his house for a party after going out with the teenager and his friend, John Barrowman, to dinner after one of Spacey’s shows. At the party, Rapp claimed that he was watching TV in another room when he suddenly saw a drunk Spacey “standing in the doorway,” his “eyes glassy and unfocused.”
“He picked me up, you know, his hand, you know, grazed my butt and legs and picked me up and laid down on top of me on the bed,” Rapp said in a February 2021 deposition as part of a civil case. “Put me down on the bed and laid down on top of me, holding me and pressuring me with the full weight of his body.”
“And this was something that was utterly shocking and unwanted and had no—I had no idea that that was something that was going to occur. And it was extraordinarily upsetting and I froze,” he added.
Spacey’s lawyers, however, insist that Rapp—himself a successful actor who starred in Rent and Star Trek: Discovery—“found a way to blame Mr. Spacey for everything that went wrong with this life.”
On Thursday, attorney Jennifer Keller insisted that the party never happened and that Rapp made up the story because he was jealous of Spacey’s success.
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