The newly publicized details of an arbitrator’s ruling show that the actor Kevin Spacey was ordered to pay nearly $US31 (A$43) million for breach of contract to the studio behind House of Cards last year — the result of numerous sexual harassment allegations that had been levied against the actor at the time, halting production.
According to the New York Times, MRC — the studio responsible for the Netflix original series — argued during private arbitration that it had lost out on millions of dollars as a result of having to essentially redevelop and reshoot the show’s final season after Spacey was abruptly fired in connection to the allegations.
Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards was a starring vehicle for Spacey, who sat at the helm of the show as the conniving and ruthless politician Frank Underwood for five seasons. But just as filming began on the sixth and final season in 2017, the actor Anthony Rapp stepped forward to publicly accuse Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him at a party in 1986. At the time, Spacey was 26 and Rapp was just 14.
In a statement posted to Twitter at the time, Spacey stopped short of denying Rapp’s accusations outright, saying instead that he did not remember whether or not the incident had occurred but he added: “if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour.”
In the same statement, Spacey also acknowledged publicly for the first time that “I now choose to live as a gay man.”
Although Netflix initially suspended production on the series in order to investigate the claims, new allegations emerged by December 2017 — including some from crew members who had worked on “House of Cards” — and Spacey was ultimately fired from the show.
In a statement, MRC told the Times, “The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability.”
The arbitrator’s ruling on the $US31 (A$43) million owed by Spacey was issued 13 months ago and was only made public after MRC’s lawyers petitioned a California court to confirm the sum.