Kevin Spacey is ordered to pay House of Cards producer $31M for violating sexual harassment policy, arbitrator rules
Disgraced actor Kevin Spacey has been ordered to pay $31million in damages and attorneys’ fees to the producer of the Netflix series House of Cards after an arbitrator found that he breached his contract by violating the company’s sexual harassment policy.
The arbitration took place behind closed doors last year, but it only came to light on Monday after the production company MRC filed a petition with the Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking to confirm the award after it was upheld in a confidential appeal, reported Variety.
Following the eight-day arbitration in February 2020, the arbitrator found ‘the allegations against Spacey to be true,’ according to MRC’s newly filed petition.
Kevin Spacey and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions, have been ordered to pay MRC, the producer of House of Cards, $31million in damages and fees
MRC claimed that Spacey, 62, breached his acting and producing contract by violating the company’s sexual harassment policy
The document also stated that the arbitrator concluded that Spacey’s breaches of contract were ‘egregious.’
What Kevin Spacey has been accused of:
Kevin Spacey had been one of Hollywood’s biggest stars but faced scandal after claims he sexually assaulted Star Trek actor Antony Rapp, who was 14 at the time.
The pair were both in Broadway shows and met at a party in 1986 where, Rapp told Buzzfeed: ‘My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.
‘He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.
‘He was trying to seduce me. I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.’
On the day Rapp made his allegations, Spacey came out as gay and apologized to the actor, saying: ‘I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago.
‘But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.’
Others have since come forward with more claims of sexual misconduct, including Heather Unruh who alleged her 18-year-old son was sexually assaulted by the star in 2016.
A civil lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice after it was revealed Unruh deleted texts off her son’s phone before giving it to police, while a criminal assault charge was also dropped.
Documentary filmmaker Tony Montana claims Spacey groped his penis in the Coronet Pub in Los Angeles in 2003, while Roberto Cavazos, a former actor at the Old Vic theater, said that he had fended off two ‘unpleasant’ advances made by the star in 2008 which ‘bordered on harassment’.
Harry Dreyfuss, the son of actor Richard, also claimed Spacey groped him when he was 18 years old.
Spacey has also been accused of a number of sexual assaults in England between 1996 and 2013, including one claim he performed a sex act on someone asleep.
Police have handed over their investigation to prosecutors who will decide whether to charge him.
Spacey has denied the accusations.
The two-time Academy Award winner and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions, were ordered to pay $29.5million in damages, $1.2million in attorneys’ fees and $235,000 in costs associated with the arbitration.
Spacey, 62, starred in the political thriller as the ruthlessly ambitious President Frank Underwood until he was suspended and ultimately fired from the show in the fall of 2017 over a slew of sexual misconduct claims.
It was alleged that Spacey inappropriately touched a young male production assistant and created a ‘toxic’ environment on set.
Multiple sources claimed to The Hollywood Reporter at the time that Spacey ‘groped the PA’ who had been tasked with driving the actor to hospital after he injured his hand during a promotional shoot for the show.
The assistant is said to have later complained to a superior about the incident. It is also alleged that he groped an actor who wanted to audition for the show.
Around the same time, Anthony Rapp, the star of the original Broadway production of Rent, publicly accused Spacey of climbing on top of him on a bed when Rapp was just 14 years old during a house party in 1986, when Spacey was 26.
In all, more than 20 men have accused Spacey of inappropriate behavior from suggestive comments to touching. He has denied all allegations of misconduct.
At the time of Spacey’s suspension from House of Cards, two episodes of Season 6 were in production and most of the anticipated 13-episode season had already been written.
After the internal probe found that Spacey breached his acting and producing contract by violating sexual harassment policies, he was ousted from the show and the entire season had to be scrapped and re-written without his character.
MRC in January 2019 demanded a confidential arbitration, seeking to recoup from Spacey and his companies tens of millions of dollars that were spent on rewriting the final season of House of Cards, starring Robin Wright and Michael Kelly.
Spacey filed a counterclaim, accusing MRC of wrongfully terminating his contract over ‘exaggerated’ claims of sexual misconduct and assault.
In his claim, Spacey alleged that MRC still owed him money,
MRC addressed the legal victory over Spacey in a statement on Monday.
‘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 company stated.
One of MRC’s attorneys, Michael Kump, of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP, also issued a statement that read: ‘It was a privilege representing MRC in this matter. MRC stood its ground, pursued this case doggedly, and obtained the right result in the end.’
Spacey’s original accuser, Rapp, sued him in federal court last year. That case is still pending.
In 2017, Anthony Rapp, the star of Rent on Broadway, publicly accused Spacey of climbing on top of him on a bed when Rapp was just 14 years old during a house party in 1986
Spacey said in 2017 he did not remember climbing on top of Rapp but apologized if the allegations were true. Spacey also used the statement to disclose he is gay.
Several other cases against the actor have unraveled, including a criminal case in Massachusetts alleging assault and battery against Spacey, who was accused of groping an 18-year-old man at a bar on the resort island of Nantucket in 2016.
The case was dropped after the accuser invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify about text messages from the night of the alleged groping that the defense claimed were deleted.
A criminal case against Spacey in Los Angeles was dropped after his accuser, a masseuse, died.
A criminal case against Spacey in Massachusetts unraveled after his accuser invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify
In Britain, the Metropolitan Police investigated six claims of sexual assault and assault against Spacey, who ran London’s Old Vic Theatre between 2004 and 2015. They have yet to say whether they will bring criminal charges.
In May 2021, a New York judge ruled that a man accusing Spacey of sexually abusing him in the 1980s when he was 14 cannot proceed only as ‘C.D.’ in a federal lawsuit.
The man had met Spacey in the actor’s suburban New York acting class before the alleged abuse, according to the lawsuit which seeks over $40million in damages.
Spacey was most recently spotted in August 2021, shooting a movie in California, after previously starring in an Italian film. He has been plotting a comeback to revive his stalled career.