U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Former BuzzFeed reporter ordered to sit for deposition in lawsuit against Kevin Spacey

Incident Details

November 4, 2021

Former BuzzFeed News reporter Adam B. Vary was subpoenaed for testimony on Nov. 4, 2021, as part of an ongoing civil lawsuit filed against the actor Kevin Spacey. On Aug. 9, 2022, a district judge granted a motion to compel Vary to partially comply with the order.

According to a September 2020 civil complaint, Anthony Rapp was a 14-year-old actor in a Broadway play in 1986 when Spacey befriended him and invited him to a party at his New York City apartment, where Rapp claims Spacey sexually abused him.

Rapp approached journalist Vary, who was also a long-time friend, in 2017 about his claims against Spacey. Vary then wrote an article about the allegations published by BuzzFeed in late October 2017.

According to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, Vary was issued two subpoenas by Spacey’s attorneys during the course of discovery. In this first subpoena, issued on Nov. 4, 2021, Vary was ordered to sit for a deposition. While he complied with the order the following month, Vary refused to answer questions about the BuzzFeed article or any unpublished materials he gathered in the course of reporting.

Spacey’s attorneys issued a second subpoena in December 2021, requesting Vary provide documents, including copies of confidential communications and reporting materials. The Tracker documented that subpoena here. In February 2022, Spacey’s attorneys filed a motion to compel Vary to sit for an additional deposition after his refusal to answer questions about the article during the first deposition.

New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Aug. 9, 2022, that while Vary does not have to produce privileged materials, he must sit for a supplementary deposition on or before Sept. 9 to answer all questions he had refused to answer during his first deposition as well as questions about the newly produced documents.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]