Kevin Spacey ordered to pay $31M to ‘House of Cards’ makers over firing for alleged sexual misconduct

LOS ANGELES — A judge ruled Thursday that Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the creators of “House of Cards” nearly $31 million for losses caused by his 2017 firing for sexual harassment of members of the crew.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana’s decision enforces the $30.9 award in favor of MRC and other companies that produced the Netflix series by a private arbitrator who heard the case against Spacey.

Recana wrote that Spacey and his attorneys “fail to demonstrate that this is even a closed case” and “fail to demonstrate that the award of damages was so wholly irrational as to amount to a arbitrary recasting of the parties’ contracts”.

“We are satisfied with the court’s decision,” MRC attorney Michael Kump said in an email to The Associated Press.

Spacey denied the allegations through his attorneys and spokesperson, who did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The arbitrator found that Spacey violated his contract’s professional conduct requirements by “engaging in certain conduct in connection with multiple crew members during each of the five seasons he starred in and produced House of Cards.” , according to a Kump filing seeking approval. .

As a result, MRC had to fire Spacey, halt production on 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. , according to court documents. .

Spacey’s attorneys argued in their own filings that the decision to exclude him from the show’s sixth season came before the internal investigation that led crew members to come forward, and therefore did not not part of a breach of contract. They argued that the actor’s actions were not a substantial factor in the series’ losses.

The private arbitrator’s decision came after a legal battle lasting more than three years and an eight-day hearing kept secret from the public, along with the rest of the dispute, until a panel of three other private arbitrators rejected Spacey’s call. and upheld the decision in November.

The 63-year-old Oscar-winning actor’s career came to an abrupt halt at the end of 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum and allegations against him emerged in multiple places.

Spacey has been fired or removed from projects including “House of Cards,” the Netflix political thriller where for five seasons he played lead character Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman who becomes president.

Last month, Spacey pleaded not guilty in London to charges he sexually assaulted three men a decade or more ago when he ran the Old Vic theater there. His attorney said he “vigorously denies” the allegations. He is to be tried next year.

Another criminal case brought against him, a charge of indecent assault and battery 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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