An arbitrator has ordered Kevin Spacey and his companies to pay nearly $31 million to MRC, the production company behind “House of Cards,” after finding that Spacey breached his contract by violating the company’s sexual harassment policy.
MRC severed its relationship with Spacey and scrapped a season of the show in 2017, after multiple people came forward to allege a pattern of sexually predatory conduct.
Spacey was immediately suspended pending an internal investigation. The producers ultimately severed ties with Spacey, and his character, Frank Underwood, was written out of the show.
MRC filed the confidential arbitration demand in January 2019, seeking to recover from Spacey the costs of scrapping the sixth season and final 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 opinion in July 2020, which remains confidential, finding in MRC’s favor.
MRC filed a petition on Monday to confirm the arbitration award, after the award was upheld in a confidential appeal.
Spacey and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions, were ordered to pay $29.5 million in damages plus $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees and $235,000 in costs.
Spacey was among the first major Hollywood figures to be accused in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October 2017. On Nov. 2, 2017, CNN reported that Spacey — the star and a producer of “House of Cards” — had created a “toxic” environment by making crude comments and engaging in non-consensual touching of young male staffers, citing eight production sources.
(Excerpt) Read more in: Variety