who was fired from his starring role on the
hit “House of Cards” in 2017 amid allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, breached his contract with the show’s production company MRC, an arbitrator ruled.
Under the terms of the ruling, MRC was awarded nearly $31 million, comprising $29.5 million in damages and $1.4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs. The arbitrator’s ruling was made in October 2020 and Mr. Spacey’s appeal was denied earlier this month.
The ruling became public Monday when MRC filed a petition in a Los Angeles Court to have it confirmed.
A lawyer for Mr. Spacey couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
MRC made its claim against Mr. Spacey in 2019, alleging that his dismissal from the political drama cost the company tens of millions in additional producing fees and lost revenue.
Mr. Spacey, who was also an executive producer of “House of Cards,” had been fired shortly after production started on the sixth season of the show. Netflix had also indicated it wouldn’t continue with the show if Mr. Spacey remained involved.
In its claim, MRC said it had to scrap the first two episodes it was filming that featured Mr. Spacey and scramble to rewrite the entire season, which added significant costs to the show.
MRC also said it had to reduce the number of episodes it had committed to Netflix to eight from 13, or it would have been unable to meet its deadlines with the streaming service. That greatly reduced the license-fee revenues the company was expecting from Netflix.
In its filing, MRC said it conducted an investigation into Mr. Spacey’s behavior on the set of the show and determined he “had breached provisions of both the Acting and Executive Producing Agreements that set standards for his workplace conduct, including by breaching MRC’s Harassment Policy.”
Mr. Spacey had been previously reprimanded by MRC in 2012 after a crew member made a complaint about his conduct.
Mr. Spacey made counterclaims against MRC that he was the one whose agreement had been breached. Mr. Spacey argued the sexual harassment and misconduct allegations—many of which he subsequently challenged—didn’t constitute a material breach of his contracts and that he was removed for business reasons.
The arbitrator rejected Mr. Spacey’s claims.
“House of Cards” was Netflix’s first original series. Based on the British series of the same name, it starred Mr. Spacey as Frank Underwood, a power-hungry politician who over the course of the series rises from Congress to vice president and then president, destroying and even killing his rivals along the way.
The show became a hit for Netflix and elevated the streaming service from a place to watch reruns of old broadcast and cable shows to a force in original programming.
For Mr. Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner, the fall from grace came in the early stages of the #MeToo movement. In October 2017, actor
told BuzzFeed that in 1986, when he was 14, Mr. Spacey had made unwanted advances toward him at a party.
Mr. Spacey said at the time that he did not recall the incident but added, “If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
Following Mr. Rapp’s allegations, others came forward, including crew members on “House of Cards,” with their own accusations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Spacey.
Mr. Spacey subsequently said he would seek treatment. He has been the subject of civil suits, including one brought by Mr. Rapp, which continues. A criminal case in Boston against Mr. Spacey was dropped.
Mr. Spacey has retreated from Hollywood since the allegations that led to his dismissal from “House of Cards.” He has occasionally posted videos on YouTube of his musings as Frank Underwood.
Write to Joe Flint at email@example.com
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