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Kevin Spacey to pay House of Cards studio more than $30m over alleged misconduct losses

Kevin Spacey is seen sitting outside a cafe on June 1, 2021 in Turin, Italy.

Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the studio behind House of Cards more than $30m because of losses brought on by his firing for alleged sexual misconduct, according to an arbitration decision made final on Monday.

A document filed in Los Angeles superior court requesting a judge’s approval of the ruling says that the arbitrators found that Spacey violated his contract’s demands for professional behaviour 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”.

MRC, the studio behind House of Cards, had to fire Spacey, halt production of the show’s sixth season, rewrite it to remove Spacey’s central character, and shorten it from 13 to eight episodes to meet deadlines, resulting in tens of millions in losses, the document claimed.

“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 on Monday.

A representative for Spacey did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. His attorneys argued that the actor’s actions were not a substantial factor in the show’s losses.

The ruling came after a legal fight lasting more than three years, and an eight-day evidentiary hearing that was kept secret, along with the rest of the dispute.

Spacey appealed against the decision to a panel of three more private arbitrators, who found for the plaintiffs, making the decision final, and public, on Monday.

“MRC stood its ground, pursued this case doggedly, and obtained the right result in the end,” plaintiff’s attorney Michael Kump said in a statement.

The 62-year-old Oscar winner’s career came to an abrupt halt late in 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum.

Actor Anthony Rapp, who has appeared in Rent on Broadway and film as well as in Star Trek: Discovery on television, alleged that Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance on him when he was 14 at a party in the 1980s.

At the time, Spacey issued a statement saying he didn’t remember the encounter but apologised.

Several other accusers followed. Some, including Rapp, have filed lawsuits.
Independent investigations found widespread sexual harassment of those who worked under him.

Spacey was fired or removed from several projects, most notably House of Cards, the Netflix political thriller where for five seasons he played lead character Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman who becomes president.

The one criminal case brought against him, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.

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