A judge has ordered Kevin Spacey to pay nearly $31 million to production company “House of Cards” for alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the Netflix White House drama.
Spacey, who played Frank Underwood, was thrown out during the series’ sixth season after facing charges of sexually assaulting and assaulting young men, including a “House of Cards” production assistant who said Spacey groped him, which prompted MRC’s investigation.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Mel Red Recana upheld an award previously awarded 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 the season had to be reduced from 13 episodes to eight. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the producer and found that Spacey’s conduct was a material breach of his agreements as an actor and executive producer of agreements.
Earlier this year, Spacey’s attorneys tried to throw away the $31 million arbitration fee, saying his conduct was nothing more than “sexual innuendo” and “harmless mischief” and did not violate MRC’s anti-harassment policy.
Spacey was first charged with misconduct in 2017 in a Buzzfeed article, in which actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey made sexual advances in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Production of “House of Cards” was halted two days later. Two days later, CNN ran a story accusing Spacey of creating a “toxic” environment on set by making rude comments and touching young male staffers without mutual consent.
The arbitrator reviewed the videotaped testimony 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 — that behavior was not part of the CNN story and only came to light after a subsequent internal investigation.
They argue that MRC’s decision to cut two episodes of the show that had already gone into production and start over was enforced by the decision of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos on Nov. 2. Therefore, they claim that the damage MRC ultimately suffered could not have been. caused by the alleged misconduct that later came to light.
The arbitrator noted that MRC “made a simple claim for damages based on concrete figures” and that “MRC’s damage calculations were quite conservative and based almost entirely on MRC’s actual costs and contracted revenues.”
In May, Spacey was charged by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who spent more than a year reviewing a file handed over to them by the Metropolitan Police. The alleged incidents took place in London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013.
Despite these allegations, Spacey will still appear in an upcoming movie titled “Peter Five Eight”.
“While it’s unfortunate that more and more negative press is being timed with Kevin returning to work, it’s also to be expected,” the film’s producers said in a statement. Variety. “There are those who would like him not to act, but they are outnumbered by fans around the world waiting for an artist they’ve loved for decades to return to the screen. The production has no knowledge of or comment on the various swirling allegations and believes it is a matter for the courts to determine if any exist. ‘Peter Five Eight’ is a film for fans who care more about the art than the scandal.”
MRC had no comment.
Gene Maddaus contributed to this report.