Time to circle the yachts, a member of the Pussy Posse has been accused of sexual assault. The Daily Beast has published an accusation of sexual assault against Kevin Connolly by a former costume designer named Gracie Cox. Gracie claims Kevin assaulted her at a 2005 wrap party for Kevin’s directorial debut The Gardener of Eden which starred fellow posse-mate Lukas Haas and was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. Kevin may not have any lips to speak of, but he made the most with what he’s got to speak a denial. Kevin claims the encounter was consensual.
Gracie no longer works in film. She moved back to her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina after 17 years in the industry and now works as a children’s therapist. Gracie says “a lot of my clients are trauma survivors, so I feel my own experience has helped me inform the work I’m doing now.” But in 2005, according to the Daily Beast, Gracie was working on The Gardener of Eden as one of two assistant costume designers to Amy Westcott, who had worked with Kevin previously on Entourage. Amy would later witness the immediate aftermath of the alleged assault and confront Kevin about it at the party in front of multiple witnesses.
Gracie says that things began when Kevin, who was dating Nicky Hilton at the time, began flirting with her on set.
Things soon became awkward between Cox and Connolly, who she says appeared to take an interest in her.
“I was around the set every day. Kevin was friendly and mildly flirtatious but I just laughed it off and didn’t take it too seriously,” says Cox. “I wasn’t interested but he was the director, so I was cordial. There was nothing that made me fearful though, it just made me a little uncomfortable, because he was my boss. So not acknowledging the smiles or comments didn’t feel like an option.”
The Daily Beast spoke with four of Cox’s friends for this story, two of whom remember her complaining to them at the time about Connolly’s on-set behavior.
Kevin claims the flirtation was mutual. He also claims that the encounter between himself and Gracie in a side-booth in the VIP section of the now defunct Butter Lounge in Manhattan, was consensual. Gracie has emphatically maintained that it was not. Warning, a graphic description of an alleged sexual assault follows.
Gracie says she and the costume department had already gone out for dinner prior to arriving at the wrap party. At the party, she says she had been there “for more than an hour or so when Kevin [Connolly] approached me and asked if I’d go with him for a smoke.” She agreed.
By that point in the evening, she says she was a bit tipsy. “I didn’t smoke but didn’t want to seem rude. This was the first social setting I’d been in with him, other than being on set. He led me down a hall to what I guess was the VIP lounge area. As soon as we were alone in that area, he started to kiss me. I didn’t know how to respond—but before I could even think about what to do about it, he pulled me into one of these little side [booths], and pulled down my pants, and turned me around, and within no time was inside of me. I was just in shock.”
Cox’s voice begins to crack. “There was not really a chance in my mind to object or resist. It just happened really fast. I froze and was in shock. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before in any way, shape or form. I was completely caught off-guard.”
She says Connolly came—he was not wearing a condom—and then did something she’ll “never forget.”
“He took a pillow off of a couch, threw it at me, and told me to ‘clean myself up.’ He then told me that he was going to leave and to wait a few minutes, because he didn’t want anyone to see us together,” she says.
Gracie says she pulled herself together as best she could, and attempted to re-enter the party since “that was the only way to leave.” In the hallway, she ran into her boss, Amy.
“Amy saw me and could see that I was distressed,” says Cox. “She had seen [Connolly] walk by too, and she immediately was like, ‘What just happened?’ Her radar went off and she pulled me aside.”
After exchanging a few muddled words, and witnessing her distraught state, “Amy was immediately enraged and protective, and then went after [Connolly]. Then they had an argument in the middle of the party, yelling at each other,” Cox says. “Amy said, ‘Let’s get you home,’ and put me in a cab.”
The Daily Beast spoke with two other Gardener of Eden crew members who were present at Butter that night. They have asked us to withhold their names in fear of retaliation. “I saw Amy [Westcott] get upset with Kevin [Connolly] at the party,” says one crew member. “That’s what I saw. It was a burst, as far as I remember. She was very upset. And it was between the costume designer [Westcott] and Kevin Connolly.” Another crew member in attendance alleges that Cox looked “disheveled” when she emerged from the venue’s back room and remembers seeing Westcott “confront” Connolly soon after. (Connolly says that Westcott was angry at both Cox and him for being “unprofessional”; the crew members who witnessed the altercation and Westcott contradict this claim.)
Gracie says she regrets not having gotten a rape kit done at the time. DB verified that Gracie privately told a number people in her life, including a therapist, that she felt she had been raped. Gracie wanted to share her story publicly during the first blush of the #metoo movement, and even went so far as to contact Gloria Allred who she says declined to represent her “because it was past the statute of limitations.” Gracie also spoke to BuzzFeed about it in 2017.
The reporter told The Daily Beast that Cox’s story appeared solid but they and Cox agreed it would be better to try to find other Connolly accusers, since this was the early days of #MeToo and multiple accusers seemed to be the industry norm for sexual-assault pieces.
The story then got “sidelined” due to a re-organizational shuffle at the BuzzFeed news desk. As for Kevin, a statement from this talent-less, charm-deprived, no-lip having, Summer’s Eve scented hack claims that while he “supports victims of sexual assault and believes their claims should always be heard,” “he was completely shocked to learn of the allegations made by Gracie Cox.” He says that when Amy heard about what happened at the party, she “expressed her disappointment to both” ( this was disputed by witnesses). Kevin “acknowledges the lack of professionalism on his part, but he adamantly denies that it was anything other than a mutual consensual encounter.”
Gracie says she’s speaking out now because she “want[s] it to be known that he is dangerous,” and she doesn’t want him to be able to get away with it any longer. If Leo and the rest of the Pussy Posse want to keep their reputation as Kings of Consent intact, they ought to hold their own trial at sea (or at least stop giving him jobs he’s clearly terrible at). What’s he ever done for them anyway except increase their collective Razzie count?