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Kevin Spacey to pay ‘House of Cards’ studio more than $30million

The studio faced tens of millions in losses when the actor was written out of the final season following sexual assault allegations

By Hollie Geraghty

Kevin Spacey wears a suit and leans over a desk playing Frank Underwood in House of Cards
Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards' season 1. (Photo: YouTube/Netflix).

Kevin Spacey has been ordered to pay nearly $31million to the studio that makes TV series ‘House of Cards’ for breach of contract after sexual harassment allegations.

Spacey played cunning politician Frank Underwood in the Netflix show, but was written out of the final season when the allegations were made against him in 2017, which he has denied.

An arbitration decision was made on Monday (November 22) which found the actor in violation of his contract by engaging in “certain conduct in connection with several crew members in each of the five seasons that he starred in and executive produced House of Cards,” according to a Los Angeles court document.

The studio, MRC, faced tens of millions in losses when the ‘American Beauty’ actor was written out of the sixth season, which forced the studio to shorten it from 13 to eight episodes to meet deadlines.

Spacey and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions, have been ordered to pay $29.5million in damages, $1.2million in attorneys’ fees and $235,000 in costs.

The actor was one of the first major figures in Hollywood to be named in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo.

Spacey filed a counterclaim in January 2019, accusing the company of wrongfully terminating his contract.

“With one exception, the Arbitrator found the third party witnesses to be credible, and found the allegations against Spacey to be true,” the petition stated, according to Variety.

“The Arbitrator found that Spacey’s conduct constituted a material breach of his acting and executive producing agreements with MRC, and that his breaches excused MRC’s obligations to pay him any further compensation in connection with the show.”

It also cited “Spacey’s egregious breaches of contract” that made him liable for the costs.

“The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability,“ MRC said in a statement.

Actor Anthony Rapp, who featured in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, made a high profile allegation that Spacey made a sexual advance on him when he was 14 and the two were at a party in the 1980s.

Spacey issued a statement at the time apologising but said he didn’t remember the encounter.

One criminal case was brought against him – an indecent assault and battery charge from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man – but was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.

The actor was cast in an Italian film by director Franco Nero in May this year after being dropped from numerous US projects.