A judge has decided that Kevin Spacey and his production firms must compensate the hit TV programme House of Cards’ creators for the losses incurred as a result of his termination in 2017 for sexually harassing staff members. The judgement gives the production firm MRC and other parties the legal standing to receive the $US30.9 million ($44.3 million) verdict made by a private arbitration.
Spacey and his counsel “fail to demonstrate that this is even a close case,” according to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana, and “do not demonstrate that the damages decision was so totally unreasonable that it amounts to an arbitrary rewriting of the parties’ contracts.” In an email to The Associated Press, MRC lawyer Michael Kump stated, “We are happy with the court’s decision. Through his lawyers and publicist, Spacey has refuted the accusations; nevertheless, they did not immediately reply to emails for comment.
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According to a petition by Mr. Kump, the arbitrator determined that Spacey violated the requirements of his contract for professional conduct by “engaging certain conduct in connection with many crew members in each of the five seasons that he starred in and executive produced House of Cards.” In order to meet deadlines, MRC was forced to terminate Spacey, suspend the sixth season of the show’s production, rework it to remove Spacey’s main character, and cut it down from 13 to eight episodes, according to court records. As a result, MRC suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses.
In their own filings, Spacey’s attorneys contended that the decision to cut him from the sixth season of the show was made before the internal inquiry that prompted the staff members to come forward and was not a result of a contract violation. They contended that the actor’s actions did not significantly contribute to the show’s losses. A panel of three more private arbitrators rejected Spacey’s appeal and affirmed the judgement from November, ending a legal battle that lasted more than three years and an eight-day evidentiary hearing that was kept secret from the public along with the rest of the disagreement.
Late in 2017, when the #MeToo movement gained steam and claims against the 63-year-old Oscar winner surfaced in various locations, his career came to an abrupt end. Spacey was let go from or removed from a number of projects, most notably House of Cards, the Netflix political thriller in which he starred as the charismatic congressman who becomes president for five seasons, Frank Underwood.
When accused of sexually abusing three men over a decade ago in London while serving as the director of the Old Vic theatre, Spacey entered a not guilty plea last month. His attorney stated that he “strenuously denies” the accusations, and a trial is scheduled for the following year. Massachusetts prosecutors dismissed a different criminal case against him in 2019. It was an accusation of indecent assault and battery coming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old male at a US resort.