LGBTQ Heroes: Anthony Rapp

A talented man who always has our attention.

LGBTQ Heroes: Anthony Rapp

Anthony Rapp is an actor and singer who originated the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent.

Following his original performance of the role in 1996, Rapp reprised it in the film version of the show.

He currently plays Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets on the television series Star Trek: Discovery.

Early life

Rapp was born in 1971, in Chicago.

He was a theatre kid at school.

He moved to New York in 1989 to attend New York University as a film student.

Career

Rapp first performed on Broadway in 1981 in The Little Prince and the Aviator.

His screen debut was in the 1987 film, Adventures in Babysitting.

Rapp went on to play the character of Mark Cohen in the off-Broadway and original Broadway casts of Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent. He reprised that role in the film adaptation, which was released in 2005.

In 2016, Rapp was cast in Star Trek: Discovery as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, the first openly gay character in the Star Trek television series.

Personal life

Rapp has spoken publicly about his sexuality throughout his career.

The Kevin Spacey allegations

In late October 2017, Rapp alleged in an interview with BuzzFeed that actor Kevin Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

At the time, Rapp and Spacey were both appearing in Broadway shows – Rapp in Precious Sons, Spacey in Long Day’s Journey into Night – and Spacey invited Rapp to a party at his home.

Rapp stated that at the end of the evening, an apparently drunk Spacey “picked [him] up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold”, placed him on the bed, and held him down while tightening his grip on him. “He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp said. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

Rapp added that he had once allegedly met with a lawyer to discuss possible legal action, but was told there was no case worth pursuing. He had previously discussed the incident in a 2001 interview with The Advocate, but Spacey’s name was redacted from publication to avoid legal disputes and public outing. Rapp was inspired to come forward in 2017 after the effects of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations with the support of his family, boyfriend, and representatives.

In response, Spacey posted on Twitter that he did not remember the encounter, but said that he was “beyond horrified to hear his story” and offered Rapp the “sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”.

In 2020, Rapp sued Spacey for sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under the Child Victims Act, which extended New York’s statute of limitations for civil suits related to child sexual abuse. Joining Rapp in the suit against Spacey was a man who requested to remain anonymous who accused Spacey of sexually abusing him in 1983, when he was 14 and Spacey was 24.