A judge has ordered Kevin Spacey to pay “House of Cards” producer MRC nearly $31 million for alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the Netflix White House drama.
Spacey, who played Frank Underwood, was kicked out of the show during its sixth season after facing accusations that he had sexually assaulted and abused young men, including a “House of Cards” production assistant who said Spacey groped him, leading to MRC investigation.
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Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana upheld a judgment previously handed down by an arbitrator in October 2020, which consisted of about $29.5 million in damages and $1.5 million in costs and fees. .
MRC argued that Spacey owed them millions in lost profits because his misconduct forced them to remove him from the show’s sixth season, and had to cut the 13-episode season down to eight. Ruling in the producer’s favor, the arbitrator found that Spacey’s behavior constituted a material breach of his agreements as an actor and executive producers.
Earlier this year, Spacey’s lawyers tried to dismiss the $31 million arbitration award, saying his behavior amounted to nothing more than “sexual innuendo” and “innocent play” and did not violate the MRC’s anti-harassment policy.
Spacey was first accused of misconduct in 2017 in a Buzzfeed article, in which actor Anthony Rapp claimed that Spacey had made a sexual assault on him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 years old. Production on House of Cards was suspended two days later. Two days later, CNN ran a story that accused Spacey of creating a “toxic” environment on set, making rude comments and engaging in non-consensual touching from young male employees.
The referee watched the videotaped testimony and found that Spacey violated MRC’s sexual harassment policy towards five members of the “House of Cards” crew. According to Spacey’s attorneys – Stephen G. Larson and Jonathan E. Phillips – this conduct was not part of CNN’s history and only came to light after a subsequent internal investigation.
They argue that MRC’s decision to scrap two episodes of the show that had already entered production and restart was forced by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ decision on Nov. it was caused by the alleged misconduct that came to light later.
The arbitrator noted that MRC “filed a direct damages claim based on hard figures” and that “MRC’s damage calculations were suitably conservative and based almost entirely on MRC’s actual costs and contracted revenues”.
In May, Spacey was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one charge of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent” by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which spent more than a year reviewing a file. passed to the Metropolitan Police. The alleged incidents took place in London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013.
Despite these accusations, Spacey is yet to appear in an upcoming movie titled “Peter Five Eight.”
“While it is unfortunate that the increase in negative press is timed with Kevin’s return to work, it is also to be expected,” the film’s producers said in a press release. Variety. “There are those who wish he wouldn’t act, but they are outnumbered by fans around the world who have been waiting for an artist they’ve appreciated for decades to return to the screen. The production has no knowledge or comment on the various claims, and believes it is a matter for the courts to determine validity, if any. ‘Peter Five Eight’ is a movie for fans who care more about art than scandal.”
MRC had no comments.
Gene Maddaus contributed to this report.
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