A judge ruled Thursday that Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the creators of “House of Cards” nearly $31 million in damages stemming from his firing in 2017 for sexually harassing crew members.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana’s decision upholds the $30.9 award in favor of MRC and other companies that produced the Netflix series by a private arbitrator who heard the case against Spacey.
Recana wrote that Spacey and his lawyers “fail to demonstrate that this is a close case” and “fail to demonstrate that the compensation was so unreasonable as to amount to an arbitrary renewal of the parties’ contracts.”
“We are pleased with the court’s decision,” MRC attorney Michael Coomb said in an email to The Associated Press.
Spacey has denied the allegations through his lawyers and his representative, who did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
The arbitrator found that Spacey violated the professional conduct requirements of his contract “by engaging in specific behavior with respect to multiple crew members in each of the five seasons he starred in and executive produced House of Cards,” according to a filing from Kump seeking approval. .
As a result, MRC was forced to fire Spacey, halt production on 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 dozens million in losses, according to court documents. .
Spacey’s lawyers argued in their own filings that the decision to cut him from the show’s sixth season came before the internal investigation that led to the crew members coming forward, and therefore was not part of a breach of contract. They argued that the actor’s actions were not a substantial factor in the show’s losses.
The private arbitrator’s ruling came after more than three years of legal battle and an eight-day evidentiary hearing that was kept secret from the public, along with the rest of the controversy, until a panel of three more private arbitrators rejected Spacey’s appeal. and upheld the decision in November.
The 63-year-old Oscar winner’s career came to an abrupt halt in late 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum and allegations against him emerged from multiple quarters.
Spacey has been fired or removed from projects, most notably “House of Cards,” the Netflix political thriller in which he played the title character Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman who becomes president, for five seasons.
Last month,with allegations of sexually assaulting three men a decade or more ago when he was manager of the Old Vic theater there. His lawyer said he “vehemently denies” the allegations. He is due to go on trial next year.
“It sounds like Kevin Spacey feels there’s still a chance he can be rehabilitated in this country. So I think the strategy is to come here, face the music and see if he can salvage his career,” Danny Rogers said. , editor in chief of PRWeek UK, told CBS News in June. “It has to feel like the damage is being done to the ‘Brand Kevin Spacey’ after all the allegations over the last five or 10 years. So if the damage has been done, there’s still some progress to be made by fighting new allegations.”
Another criminal case against him, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old boy at a Nantucket resort, wasby Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.
Spacey is also facing lawsuits from other men, including the actor.