Kevin Spacey ordered to pay $31,000,000 to House of Cards studio
Kevin Spacey and his production companies have been ordered to pay $31million (£23m) to the studio behind the Netflix series House of Cards.
Spacey played politician Frank Underwood on the show for five seasons but was written out in the sixth and final season after sexual assault and misconduct allegations were made against the actor.
The 62-year-old has denied the allegations.
Arbitrators found that Spacey violated his contract’s demands for professional behaviour by ‘engaging certain conduct in connection with several crew members’ in each of the five seasons he was involved in, according to a document filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The arbitration award was upheld following a confidential appeal.
Spacey and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions, have been ordered to pay $29.5million (£22m) in damages plus $1.2million (£895,000) in attorneys’ fees and $235,000 (£175,000) in costs.
MRC, who fired Spacey and cut the final season of House of Cards from 13 to eight episodes to meet deadlines, filed its arbitration demand in January 2019, claiming they lost tens of millions of dollars in the rewrite in 2017.
Spacey filed a counter-claim, arguing that the production company had wrongfully terminated his contract and breached its obligations to ‘pay or play’ under the agreement, and that the allegations against him were not a major factor in the studio’s losses.
Following an eight-day hearing in February 2020, a confidential ruling from arbitrators issued in July 2020 found in favour of MRC.
According to Variety, the petition stated: ‘With one exception, the Arbitrator found the third party witnesses to be credible, and found the allegations against Spacey to be true. 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.’
The arbitrator also found that ‘Spacey’s egregious breaches of contract’ made him and his companies liable for MRC’s tens of millions of dollars of extra costs.
Spacey had appealed the initial decision to three more private arbitrators but they also found for the studio, and the final decision was made public on Monday.
A statement from MRC read: ‘The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability.’
In addition to being written out of House of Cards, with the last season focusing on Frank’s wife Claire (Robin Wright), Spacey was hurriedly written out of All The Money In The World, with Christopher Plummer replacing him as J Paul Getty and reshooting all the scenes in just eight days.
The actor is, however, set to make a comeback as a police officer in the upcoming crime drama The Man Who Drew God, about a blind artist who is wrongly accused of sexual abuse.
Spacey has also booked a role in the film Peter Five Eight.