Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the studio behind House of Cards more than US$30 million because of losses brought on by his firing for sexual misconduct, according to an arbitration decision made final Monday.
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 behaviour by “engaging in certain conduct in connection with several crew members in each of the five seasons that he starred in and executive produced House of Cards.”
MRC, the studio behind House of Cards, had to fire Spacey, halt production of the show’s sixth season, rewrite it to remove his central character and shorten it from 13 to eight episodes to meet deadlines, resulting in tens of millions in losses, the document 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,” MRC said in a statement Monday.
A representative for 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.
The ruling came after a legal fight of more than three years and an eight-day evidentiary hearing that was kept secret from the public, along with the rest of the dispute.
Spacey appealed the decision to a panel of three more private arbitrators, who found for the plaintiffs, making the decision final, and public, on Monday.
“MRC stood its ground, pursued this case doggedly, and obtained the right result in the end,” plaintiff’s attorney Michael Kump said in a statement.
The 62-year-old Oscar winner’s career came to an abrupt halt late in 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum.
Actor Anthony Rapp, who has appeared in Rent on Broadway and film as well as in Star Trek: Discovery on television, said Spacey made a sexual advance on him at a party in the 1980s, when Rapp was 14.
At the time of the allegation, Spacey issued a statement saying he didn’t remember the encounter but apologized.
Several other accusers followed. Some, including Rapp, have filed lawsuits.
Independent investigations found widespread sexual harassment of those who worked under Spacey.
He was fired or removed from several projects, most notably House of Cards, the Netflix political thriller where for five seasons he played lead character Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman who becomes president.
The one criminal case brought against him, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.