Reporter Who First Reported Kevin Spacey Allegations Refuses To Answer Questions Concerning Friendship With Rapp 

adam b vary, kevin spacey, anthony rapp's lawsuit
Adam Vary speaking at the 2013 WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California

Originally Published February 11, 2021
Last Updated: February 13, 2022

by Ana Chevalier

Why Is Adam B Vary Suddenly Unwilling To Speak?

On February 9, 2022, attorneys representing actor Kevin Spacey filed a motion seeking a court order to compel BuzzFeed’s Adam B Vary to “sit for a supplemental deposition.” This is part of the ongoing civil lawsuit against House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey. (Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp filed charges in New York claiming the Oscar winner made a sexual advance against him when he was 14 years old.)

Vary is refusing to answer questions or provide court-ordered documents citing “reporter’s privilege” under the First Amendment and the “reporter’s shield” under California law.” 

The “reporter’s privilege” defense for refusing to do what a court asks is rooted in the idea that journalists have a “limited First Amendment right” that prevents them from being forced to reveal confidential sources or privileged information. 

In 2017, Broadway actor Anthony Rapp turned to his longtime friend, Adam B Vary, who was writing listicles for BuzzFeed at the time, to publish his unsubstantiated sexual assault allegation against actor Kevin Spacey. (Vary is now employed as Variety’s Senior Entertainment Writer, where he continues to explore the listicle art form). 

Kevin Spacey, Anthony Rapp lawsuit
Spacey’s career has been at a near-standstill since the 2017 BuzzFeed article. [photo credit: Paul Hudson]

During discovery, Mr. Vary was served with subpoenas seeking information about conversations he and Rapp have had during their 20+ year friendship. Of particular interest are text messages referenced in court documents obtained by The Independent Observer showing Rapp’s initial version of the story contained “demonstrably false details,” according to Spacey’s attorneys. 

However, during his initial deposition, Vary refused to answer any questions concerning his communications with Rapp beyond the specifics he included in the initial 2017 article or his 2018 follow-up article. Vary’s actions could be seen as protecting his longtime friend from unwanted or unwelcome scrutiny for any “inconsistencies” or “false details,” as indicated in the motion. Vary also refused to answer questions concerning his vetting of Rapp’s allegations.

Additionally, Vary has failed to produce documentary evidence requested by subpoena, acknowledging, however, that he “did not even attempt” to get the requested documentation. 

In the 116-page motion document, there are numerous interactions between Spacey’s attorney and Vary, such as: 


Question: Did Mr. Rapp provide the description of any witness who allegedly saw him at a party at [Spacey’s] apartment?”

[Vary]: On the advice of my attorney, I’m not responding to that question.


Question: Did you intentionally omit any details of Mr. Rapp’s account and allegations in your story?

[Vary]: On the advice of my attorney, I’m not responding to that question.


Question: Mr. Rapp provided you a detail about the last time he had seen Mr. [Spacey]; right?

[Vary]: Yes.

Question: You determined that detail was not accurate, right?

[Vary]: On the advice of my attorney, I’m not responding to that question.


There are almost 30 pages of questions, all with the same non-answer from Vary concerning details of the story and his investigation. 

Is Adam B. Vary Hiding Something?

By refusing to elaborate any of the details of his vetting, Vary has failed to take advantage of an opportunity to validate his ethics, integrity, and story under sworn testimony. As a former journalist, I’m gobsmacked.

Vary’s reason for refusing to answer questions?

“Reporter’s privilege” and “reporter’s shield.”

The trouble for Vary is that they don’t apply here. 

Considering Vary isn’t a trained reporter (his degree is in History) and with limited experience working such nuanced stories like these, I can see why he might conflate his situation with what the law allows.

Conversations with friends aren’t privileged or proprietary. You can be called to testify against someone despite a personal, even intimate or sexual relationship. The main exception is marriage. Mr. Rapp is currently engaged to boyfriend to Ken Ithiphol.

And even if—and that’s a BIG if—it did apply to Vary’s good buddy gab sessions with Anthony Rapp during the past two decades, that protection dissolves if the material is “unavailable” elsewhere, despite best efforts to get it and if it’s of significant importance to the case.

And that definition just about sums up the situation here perfectly.

Rapp, himself, has developed an exceptionally convenient case of forgetfulness, testifying under oath that he “does not recall” all of the details he initially provided to Vary.

In other words, Rapp has left his good pal holding the proverbial bag on this one. 

See also: Kevin Spacey, MRC, Netflix: The Arbitration Malfunction

If found in contempt, it’s Vary who would incur penalties. In some instances, to be found in contempt would mean spending time in jail. If that happens here, it’s Vary would be behind bars, not Rapp. I’m glad I don’t have friends like that.

And what about California’s “reporter’s shield” law?

It doesn’t apply when it impedes a defendant’s rights. Without access to all the relevant information, Spacey stands to experience a significant impediment to his defense.

Adam B Vary’s BuzzFeed Interview: A Question of Ethics

When Vary reached out to Spacey’s team for comment on the allegations, prior to publication in 2017, “[by] his own admission in text exchanges with Rapp, Mr. Vary changed Rapp’s account to deprive Mr. [Spacey] of a fair and adequate opportunity to respond to the demonstrably false details of Rapp’s account.”

If true, this would be exceptionally unethical journalism, to say the least. Is this the reason Adam B Vary is unwilling to answer questions concerning his professional integrity, journalistic methodology, or his 20 year relationship with Anthony Rapp?

The Court could and may find Vary to be in contempt if he fails to provide the requested documentation and sit for a subsequent deposition. If I were Adam B Vary, I’d be scouring old text messages right now.

A hearing has been scheduled for the morning of March 2, 2022


As part of The Independent Observer’s commitment to this story, we will be providing ongoing coverage of Rapp’s lawsuit against Kevin Spacey, sexual assault allegations, production company arbitration, and where is Kevin Spacey now.

Check back for district court, federal court, trending updates, and podcast episodes.

where is kevin spacey now

Ana Chevalier (www.anachevalier.com@TheOfficialAnaC) is an award-winning author, former journalist, and playwright. Her work has appeared in global publications including Toronto Star, Baltimore Sun, The Independent (UK), The Telegraph (UK), The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Jerusalem Post, Forbes, YahooNews, and many more. Ana is a former child-actor/ entertainer, winning multiple awards for her work. She has worked with Hollywood elite, Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar, and Tony award winners (EGOT!) and Grand Ole Opry members on a variety of projects on and off-stage.

2 comments

  1. Very good article. Its also worth noting that First Amendment protections regarding journalists apply when the source of information that a journalist publicly reports is anonymous. This isn’t the case. We know EXACTLY who the source of Vary’s story is and both Rapp and Vary have publicly stated that they were friends. So there isn’t much the court is able to protect from a defendant’s examination.

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