Kevin Spacey said that he struggled to come out publicly as gay because of his father’s racist, homophobic and antisemitic views.
“My father was a white supremacist and a neo-Nazi,” Spacey said of his father, Thomas Fowler. “I have never talked about these things publicly ever.”
He added, “I grew up in a very complicated family dynamic.”
The admission came on the witness stand in New York City on Monday where Spacey is facing off against Anthony Rapp in a $40 million civil lawsuit. Rapp claims Spacey made unwanted sexual advances against him in 1986 when Rapp was 14 years old. In his own testimony, Rapp has accused Spacey of being a fraud for not being openly gay.
“To call someone a fraud is to say someone is living a lie,” Spacey said. “I wasn’t living a lie. I was just reluctant to talk about my personal life.”
Growing up, Spacey said his family moved around a lot because his father was frequently unemployed. He said he was “terrified” as a child and was “forced to listen” to his father’s racist and bigoted lectures, which prevented him from bringing friends to the house. He said when he told his father that he wanted to be an actor, he was told “don’t be an f-word.”
“I won’t say it here because it’s derogatory,” Spacey said. “I certainly had a degree of shame.”
He said he was inspired to become a performer because he loved making his mother, Kathleen, laugh and because she instilled a love of movies in her son.
Spacey was one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actors, winning Oscars for his work in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty” and starring in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” But after Rapp accused the star of sexual assault in a 2017 BuzzFeed article, and other accusers made similar allegations against Spacey, his career imploded. On the witness stand, Spacey walked jurors through his early days as an actor trying to make it professionally, taking them through roles in regional theater and his initial success as a member of a Jack Lemmon-led revival of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
“I was broke,” Spacey said of that time period. “I had no future.”
Spacey’s legal team scored a major victory before the actor ever took the stand. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan dismissed emotional distress charges against Spacey, who now only faces battery charges. “I’m not looking to duplicate damages,” Kaplan said.
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