A judge has ruled that disgraced actor Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay ‘House of Cards’ makers almost $31 million due to losses following claims of the sexual harassment of crew members, which led him to be fired from the Netflix show in 2017.
Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana was given the force of law to the $30.9 award in favor of MRC and other companies that produced the popular series by a private arbitrator who heard the case against Spacey.
Recana said that Spacey and his attorneys “fail to demonstrate that this is even a close case’ and ‘do not demonstrate that the damages award was so utterly irrational that it amounts to an arbitrary remaking of the parties’ contracts.”
In an email, MRC attorney Michael Kump said, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling.”
Spacey has denied the sexual assault allegations through his attorneys.
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,” according to a filing from Kump requesting the approval.
Court documents said MRC had to fire Spacey, rewrite the show’s sixth season after halting production, and remove Spacey’s central character, resulting in tens of millions in losses.
Spacey’s attorneys argued that the decision to exclude him from the show was before an official internal investigation, leading crew members to come forward, meaning it was not a breach of contract.
Spacey’s legal team argued that his actions were not substantial enough to affect the show’s losses.
The ruling comes after a three-year legal fight of more than three years and an eight-day evidentiary hearing, which was kept secret from the public until the panel of three more private arbitrators rejected an appeal from Kevin Spacey.
Career ‘free fall’
The Oscar-winning actor’s career went into free fall in 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement as allegations against him emerged.
Kevin Spacey was fired from shows, including Netflix’s ‘House of Cards,’ where he played the lead character Frank Underwood for five seasons.
In July, Spacey pleaded not guilty in London to charges of sexually assaulting three men over ten years ago, when he was the director of the Old Vic theater.
Spacey’s lawyer said the actor “strenuously denies” the allegations.
In another criminal case brought against Spacey, the actor was accused of groping an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort but was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.
The actor also faces lawsuits from other men, including actor Anthony Rapp.