Actor Kevin Spacey has to pay nearly $31 million in damages to MRC Entertainment, the production company behind Netflix’s House of Cards, for breaching his contract on the basis of alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the political drama, a Los Angeles judge ruled on Thursday.
According to Deadline, the LA Judge Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana stated that the decision was “not even a close case,” as he denied a request by Spacey’s attorney to throw out the findings of a court-appointed arbitrator in the case, which consisted of around $29.5 million in damages and $1.5 million in costs and fees.
Spacey, who played Frank Underwood, was kicked off the series during its sixth season after facing allegations that he had sexually assaulted and preyed upon young men, including a House of Cards production assistant who said the Seven actor groped him, prompting MRC’s investigation, as per the publication.
MRC put forward a case that Spacey’s misconduct and lies made him owe them millions in lost profits since his behaviour forced them to remove him from the sixth season of the show. Consequently, they had to trim the season from 13 episodes to eight.
Ruling in the producer’s favour, the arbitrator found that Spacey’s behaviour constituted a material breach of his agreements as an actor and executive producing agreements.
Spacey’s attorney’s argue that MRC’s move to scrap two episodes of the show that had already gone into production and start over was forced by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ decision on Nov 2. Therefore, they contend, the damages MRC ultimately suffered could not have been caused by the alleged misconduct that surfaced later on.
The arbitrator, however, noted that MRC “presented a straightforward damages claim based on concrete numbers” and that the “calculations of MRC’s damages were appropriately conservative and relied almost entirely on MRC’s actual costs and contracted-for revenues.”
On July 14, Spacey pleaded not guilty to all sexual offences against him that dated back to 20 years. He is accused of five offences in Britain – four counts of sexual assault by touching, and a more serious charge of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. Prosecutors say Spacey forced a man to have oral sex.
Speaking clearly, the 62-year-old American actor and producer, whose name was given as Kevin Spacey Fowler, said “not guilty” when each of the charges were put to him at London’s Old Bailey central criminal court.
On the work front, despite these charges, Spacey is still set to appear in an upcoming film titled Peter Five Eight.
In conversation with Variety, one of the film producers shared, “While it’s unfortunate that increased negative press is timed with Kevin returning to work, it’s also to be expected. There are those who wish for him not to act, but they are outnumbered by fans worldwide who await an artist they have enjoyed for decades returning to the screen.”