Actor Kevin Spacey, who has been embroiled in multiple lawsuits and criminal charges over allegations of sexual misconduct, is back in the news after calling for the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against him in California due to the accuser’s anonymity, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Spacey is accused of twice forcing a massage therapist to grab his genitals during a rub-down at a private residence in Malibu. But the complainant has thus far remained anonymous, which Spacey’s lawyers say would result in the case against him being “severely prejudiced” against the actor.
While U.S. law and the Constitution explicitly provide for people accused of a crime to face their accusers in court, exceptions are sometimes made when the plaintiff can establish a need for anonymity, for instance, if their life or the lives of their family members might be placed in danger for testifying publicly.
Lawyers for the actor also claimed in the brief filed with the court in California that since there is no allegation of harm being threatened against Spacey’s accuser, “the party more vulnerable to threats and privacy invasion is [Spacey], given his public profile.”
The massage therapist filed suit as “John Doe,” alleging sexual battery, gender violence, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment, claiming that Spacey forced him to grab his genitals and made an offer of oral sex. The man claims he eventually freed himself, and grabbed his massage table and left. But Spacey’s lawyers are arguing that the House of Cards and The Usual Suspects actor has a right to face the man under his real name and that the court documents were improperly filed due to the anonymity of the accuser.
Receiving much more play in the press are the charges the actor faces in Massachusetts, where he recently appeared in court. There, he is accused of fondling an 18-year-old man who was working as a waiter in a Nantucket bar in 2016. That case has garnered much more media attention due to the accuser’s relative youth and the fact that he is the son of a well-known local TV news personality.
Spacey’s career was rocked at the height of the #MeToo movement, with high-profile accusations emerging then from, among many others, actor Anthony Rapp. Rapp claimed that Spacey made sexual advances toward him when Rapp was just 14. At that time, Spacey would have been 26.
When Rapp came forward with his accusation in October 2017, Spacey claimed not to remember the incident – which Rapp described as the older actor picking him up “like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold” – and laying him down in the bedroom and getting on top of him. Rapp said he eventually managed to squirm away and leave the apartment.
Spacey has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charges in Massachusetts.