Kevin Spacey ordered to pay ‘House of Cards’ producer $31 million for alleged sexual misconduct
A judge has ordered Kevin Spacey to pay nearly $31 million to “House of Cards” production company MRC for alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the Netflix White House drama.
Spacey, who played Frank Underwood, was kicked off the show during its sixth season after facing allegations that he sexually assaulted and attacked young men, including a “House of Cards” production assistant who said Spacey groped him, prompting MRC to investigate.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana upheld an award previously issued by an arbitrator in October 2020, which consisted of approximately $29.5 million in damages and $1.5 million in costs and fees .
MRC had argued that Spacey owed them millions in lost profits because his misconduct forced them to remove him from the show’s sixth season, and he had to cut the season from 13 episodes to eight. Ruling in favor of the producer, the arbitrator found that Spacey’s behavior constituted a material breach of his agreements as actor and executive producer.
Earlier this year, Spacey’s lawyers tried to throw out the $31million arbitration award, saying his behavior was nothing more than ‘sexual innuendo’ and ‘innocent play’ and did not violate the policy. anti-harassment of the MRC.
Spacey was first accused of misconduct in 2017 in a Buzzfeed article, in which actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey made a sexual advance on him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Production on “House of Cards” was suspended two days later. Two days later, CNN published an article accusing Spacey of creating a “toxic” environment on set by making rude comments and engaging in non-consensual touching of young male staff members.
The arbitrator viewed videotaped deposition evidence and found that Spacey violated MRC’s sexual harassment policy regarding five “House of Cards” crew members. According to Spacey’s attorneys – Stephen G. Larson and Jonathan E. Phillips – this conduct was not part of the CNN story and was only revealed after a subsequent internal investigation by CNN.
They argue that MRC’s decision to scrap two episodes of the show that had already entered production and start over was forced by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ decision on November 2. Therefore, they argue that the damages ultimately suffered by MRC could not have been caused by the alleged misconduct that later surfaced.
The arbitrator noted that MRC “presented a straightforward damages claim based on hard numbers” and that “MRC’s damages calculations were sufficiently conservative and were based almost entirely on the actual costs and contract revenues of RCM”.
In May, Spacey was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent” by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the United Kingdom, who had spent over a year reviewing a case forwarded to them by the Metropolitan Police. The alleged incidents took place in London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013.
Despite these accusations, Spacey is still expected to appear in an upcoming movie called “Peter Five Eight.”
“While it’s unfortunate that the increase in negative press is timed with Kevin’s return to work, it’s also to be expected,” the film’s producers said in a statement to Variety. “There are those who wish he didn’t perform, but they outnumber the fans around the world who are waiting for an artist they’ve loved for decades to return to the screen. The production has no knowledge or comment on the various swirling allegations and believe it is up to the courts to determine the validity if they exist.’Peter Five Eight’ is a film for fans who care more about art than scandal.
The MRC did not comment.
Gene Maddaus contributed to this report.
The best of variety
Subscribe to the Variety newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Click here to read the full article.