ENTOURAGE star Kevin Connolly has been accused of sexual assault by a costume designer. Connolly strenuously denied the allegations and claimed the encounter was consensual.
Gracie Cox shared her allegations with the Daily Beast and claimed that she had shared her story with others over the years but it hadn’t been made public until this year, because the actor knows people “who have a lot of power.”
The costume designer – who’s worked in shows like Gossip Girl, Girls, and Orange Is The New Black – talked to the Daily Beast about her alleged experience with the famed actor.
“In early 2005, I started to work on this film that was directed by Kevin Connolly,” she first told the news outlet.
“The designer, Amy Westcott, had already worked with him on Entourage.
“I was the assistant costume designer on this film, called The Gardener of Eden. I’d been in the industry for a few years at this point – so not a very long time.”
She was one of two assistant costume designers and is listed in IMDB as such.
Cox, who was 29 when the alleged incident happened, claimed that Connolly, now 46, took a particular interest in her, but she didn’t return the feeling.
“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,” Cox claimed in the interview.
“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.”
Connolly told the Daily Beast the flirtation was “mutual.”
Cox further claimed that he would pause filming in order to acknowledge her on set or compliment her when they walked past each other, which was odd to her because he was dating socialite Nicky Hilton at the time.
According to the Daily Beast, two of Cox’s friends, who were interviewed for the story, recall that she complained about Connolly’s behavior on set at the time.
Cox claims things escalated once The Gardener of Eden – in which Leonardo DiCaprio was a producer – wrapped up filming and the whole cast and crew went out to celebrate at the downtown New York City lounge Butter in December of 2005.
“My department had gone out to dinner prior to the party, compliments of [Westcott].
“We were at the party and I don’t think I’d 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 claimed, adding that she was “tipsy” by then.
Connolly maintains that he did not smoke at that time and that Cox “was not extremely inebriated.”
Cox further claimed: “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,” she claimed emotionally.
“I was just in shock. 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.”
“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 claimed.
She also alleged he was not wearing a condom at the time.
Cox further claimed that her boss, Westcott, spotted her leaving the VIP room just minutes after Connolly and that she looked “distressed.”
The costume designer allegedly pulled her aside and questioned her about what had happened before Cox told her she had been assaulted by Connolly.
She further claimed – and Westcott confirmed to the Daily Beast – that her boss went after Connolly and “they had an argument in the middle of the party.”
Four of Cox’s friends and her therapist confirmed to the outlet that she had told them about the alleged incident just days after it had happened.
Additionally, two other crew members also confirmed that they saw Westcott and Connolly fighting in the middle of the party.
Connolly, through his attorney Marty Singer, denied to the Daily Beast that he assaulted Cox.
He said in a lengthy statement: “Kevin strongly supports victims of sexual assault and believes their claims should always be heard.
“As someone who has worked in this industry for four decades, he has treated people with nothing but respect and has maintained a stellar reputation.
“Therefore, he was completely shocked to learn of the allegations made by Gracie Cox from a wrap party in 2005.
“The incident with Ms. Cox was consensual, and he categorically denies any claim that it was assault… Kevin completely understands Amy’s displeasure with the consensual act that transpired between Kevin and Gracie 15 years ago, after production had wrapped and they were no longer working together on the movie.
“Kevin acknowledges the lack of professionalism on his part, but he adamantly denies that it was anything other than a mutual consensual encounter.”
Cox, who got STD testing after the alleged incident, revealed that her only regret was not getting a rape kit done – but she was too scared to lose her job at the time.
“He thinks he’s untouchable, and that’s part of the reason why it’s been hard to come forward about it.
“I was definitely fearful of not being able to work again in TV and film.”
Cox also claimed the alleged assault affected her career and mental health.
“In the weeks and months following the assault, I had to endure seeing Kevin’s face on my daily commute, literally larger than life and plastered all over NYC city buses and subway stations,” she recounted.
“It was the ad campaign for the new season of Entourage.
“I recall it being especially difficult to have this relentless visual assault on top of an already painful experience; his power and dominance continuing to occupy my mind and my space.”
She claimed that because of her mental state at the time, she gave up a great opportunity to move to Los Angeles, California, and work on the set Entourage’s upcoming season.
“[Connolly] went on to continue doing Entourage. I was going to go work on Entourage, and that was going to be my big chance to move to L.A. and try and work in the industry there.
“But I obviously had no interest in pursuing that particular opportunity after this happened,” Cox claimed.
“I continued to think about that long after. I’m not sure if I would have been more successful or not.
“But since that experience, I was able to work on projects like Girls and Orange Is the New Black that made me feel proud.
“I want it to be known that he is dangerous and I want him to not get away with it any longer,” she claimed.
Connolly is best known for his role as Eric Murphy in Entourage but has also appeared in blockbusters such as The Notebook, He’s Just Not That Into You, and The Ugly Truth.
He’s also dived into the directing world and most famously worked on Gotti with John Travolta and his wife, the late Kelly Preston.