Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the studio behind House of Cards more than $30 million because of losses brought on by his firing for sexual misconduct, according to an arbitration decision made final on Monday.
MRC filed the confidential arbitration demand in January 2019, seeking to recover from Spacey the costs of scrapping the season and starting over. Spacey filed a counterclaim, accusing the production company of wrongfully terminating his contract and breaching its obligations to pay or play under the agreement.
Attorneys on both sides took depositions from more 20 people, leading up to an eight-day confidential arbitration hearing in February 2020. The arbitrator issued a 46-page ruling in July 2020, which remains confidential, finding in MRC’s favor.
A document filed in Los Angeles Superior Court requesting a judge’s approval of the ruling says that the arbitrators found that Spacey violated his contract’s demands for professional behavior by engaging certain conduct in connection with several crew members in each of the five seasons that he starred in and executive produced House of Cards.
The document reads: MRC, the studio behind House of Cards, had to fire Kevin Spacey, halt production of 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.
In a statement MRC said: “The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability.”
A representative for Kevin Spacey did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. His attorneys argued that the actor’s actions were not a substantial factor in the show’s losses.
On Monday: Spacey appealed the decision to a panel of three more private arbitrators, who found for the plaintiffs, making the decision final, and public. In a statement plaintiff’s attorney Michael Kump said: “MRC stood its ground, pursued this case doggedly, and obtained the right result in the end.”
Actor Anthony Rapp, who has appeared in Rent on Broadway and film as well as in Star Trek: Discovery on television, said Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on him when he was 14 at a party in the 1980s.
At the time, Spacey issued a statement saying he didn’t remember the encounter but apologized. Several other accusers followed. Some, including Rapp, have filed lawsuits.