Kevin Spacey has been ordered to pay almost $31 million dollars to MRC, the production company behind the Netflix show House of Cards, after it was determined that Spacey breached his contract with the company by violating their sexual harassment policy.
Spacey had previously starred on the show for five seasons before being fired due to his ongoing sexual misconduct allegations. Co-star Robin Wright took over as the show’s lead actor for the sixth and final season.
MRC filed an arbitration demand in January 2019, looking to recover the costs of scrapping an entire season of the show. Spacey filed a counterclaim, accusing the production company of wrongfully terminating his contract and breaching the “pay or play” obligations of the agreement.
Spacey and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions, have been ordered to pay $29.5 million in damages, $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees, and $235,000 in additional costs.
Spacey was initially suspended from the Netflix show in 2017 after allegations of non-consensual touching were made against him by young male staffers. Spacey has denied the claims, but his contract with Netflix was subsequently terminated. House of Cards went on a hiatus in order to rewrite the show around Wright’s character, Claire Underwood.
“With one exception, the Arbitrator found the third party witnesses to be credible, and found the allegations against Spacey to be true,” the official petition from the court reads. “The Arbitrator found that Spacey’s conduct constituted a material breach of his acting and executive producing agreements with MRC, and that his breaches excused MRC’s obligations to pay him any further compensation in connection with the show.”
“The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability,” the company said in a statement.
A number of lawsuits and criminal cases were brought against Spacey in the subsequent months after his termination, with all but the case between him and actor Anthony Rapp having been dropped in the following interim. Spacey blamed the initial incident with Rapp on “drunken behaviour” and stirred controversy when he used his official apology to come out as gay.