Lupita Nyong’o Inspired Anthony Rapp to Speak Out About Kevin Spacey

Eighteen months since he bravely spoke out about the alleged attempted sexual assault he experienced at the hands of Kevin Spacey when he was just 14 years old, Anthony Rapp is doing just fine. The original “Rent” star began a plum gig on TV’s “Star Trek: Discovery” around the same time BuzzFeed published an interview in which he detailed the 1986 encounter with Spacey. In an interview with comedian Cameron Esposito on her Queery podcast, Rapp said he was moved when the “Star Trek” fandom rallied around him, and shared what was going through his head when he decided to speak out.

“None of us ever thought that anything could ever come of all of this. We all just thought that we’d have to look the other way and get along. It’s such a profound paradigm shift. It just didn’t seem possible that these people could be removed from power,” Rapp said.

So what motivated him to finally speak out? Of all the women speaking out about Harvey Weinstein, one “Us” star moved him in particular.

I was following along with the Harvey Weinstein stories, to some degree, but I wasn’t like diving into them. … And I hadn’t yet really made the connection for myself. … Lupita Nyong’o wrote a first person piece in The New York Times about her experience with Harvey. And as they go, she was pretty fortunate in that she was able to avoid the worst of it, but she wrote so beautifully and eloquently about what experience was like for her. … Coupled with it was the knowledge that that had been going on for decades to so many people, and that I knew for a fact several people in my own circle who had had experiences with Kevin Spacey, that it was like that was when the penny dropped, and I had to do something. It wasn’t about my own experience, it really was not about airing out my own laundry. … I thought that would be the only way that we could stop him.

When no other victims came forward for a few days, Rapp began to worry. “I mean, I truly did not know that my story was enough. I thought — part of what was so powerful about the Harvey Weinstein thing was that there were so many stories. It was unavoidable. You couldn’t escape it. So if it was just me, was that gonna be enough?”

Rapp said he did not expect how quickly “the dominoes started falling” for the Oscar winner. (Just a few of those dominoes: Production on Spacey’s Netflix show, “House of Cards,” came to a halt before eventually moving forward without him, and his role in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World” was recast with Christopher Plummer.)

“Before any of this happened, none of us thought these dominoes would actually fall,” Rapp said. He had spoken to a lawyer long before the Weinstein allegations snowballed into the MeToo movement, but the lawyer advised him that his only recourse was to sue Spacey for defamation, which Rapp wasn’t interested in doing.

Spacey denied the allegations, issuing a statement on Twitter in which he came out as a gay man, a move which was largely criticized. “The initial response was still incredibly supportive. And then the statement, his weird Twitter statement and the coming out was met with such outrage,” Rapp said.

As for the fallout, some eighteen months later, Rapp feels a sense of peace with Spacey’s fall from grace — and the potential future victims who have hopefully been spared.

“I feel satisfied that he’s on blast and that he can’t do that anymore. … I don’t know in what environment that could happen now. He won’t be in a position of power in a workplace situation, where he can do things.”

Listen to the full interview on the Queery podcast with Cameron Esposito.

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