Kevin Spacey Ordered To Pay $31 Million To "House of Cards" Production Company

By on November 23, 2021 in ArticlesEntertainment

Prior to 2013, Netflix streamed a fairly limited collection of shows, all of which were produced by other parties. Streaming other people's content created a huge anxiety within Netflix. What would Netflix stream if all the broadcast networks simply stopped renewing their deals? What if all the networks, after seeing the streaming success of shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," – both of which became popular on Netflix after debuting on AMC to little fanfare – decided to either create their own platforms or sell their streaming rights to Hulu, which the networks partially…

The obvious solution was to create their own content.

So Netflix went on the hunt for an original series concept.

According to legend, to conceive of a show the content geniuses at Netflix studied their subscriber streaming habits. The data showed that people liked watching political thrillers, movies starring Kevin Spacey and movies that were directed by David Fincher.

While this was all playing out, a production company called Media Rights Capital had recently acquired the remake rights to a British political drama miniseries called "House of Cards" that was based on a 1989 novel of the same name.

Media Rights Capital (MRC) approached HBO, Showtime and AMC to sell the show. Netflix swooped in and outbid everyone.

Next, Netflix simply hired David Fincher and gave him a blank check to produce the series with Kevin Spacey as the star.

Kevin Spacey Netflix Lawsuit

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

"House of Cards" premiered on February 1, 2013. It was the very first Netflix Original series. Fast forward almost a decade and Netflix has made over a thousand original series and films, several of which were actually good.

The first two seasons of "House of Cards" were GREAT and the show quickly became a global sensation. The show received 33 Emmy nominations and eight Golden Globe nominations. Spacey and his co-star Robin Wright won numerous accolades and became cultural icons. In 2016, Kevin sat dressed as title character "Frank Underwood" for a portrait by a British artist known for painting world figures. The painting was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute and would be housed in the National Portrait Gallery!

My point is, the show was a big deal. And Kevin Spacey was an especially big deal.

Season three was OK. At some point in either season three or four, the show really started to stink. I never watched season five.

In between seasons five and six, shit hit the fan.

In October 2017 "House of Cards" was in the thick of filming episodes for their sixth season which had been fully written and planned out. MRC had produced two of what was supposed to be 13 episodes when actor Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed a story about a party in 1986. According to Rapp, at this party Kevin Spacey made unwanted sexual advances while the two were alone in a bedroom. At the time Rapp was 14 years old. Not good. Spacey claimed he couldn't recall the incident in a Tweet that was maybe the biggest belly flop apology of all time.

A bunch of other allegations quickly popped up related to Spacey's bad behavior on and off sets. It was also soon revealed that Spacey had to be reprimanded by Media Rights Capital for an incident that occurred on set during the filming of "House of Cards" season one.

In the wake of the Rapp allegation and subsequent firestorm, Spacey was fired from the show. MRC was forced to put those first two episodes in the trashcan and completely re-write what became an abbreviated sixth season that debuted in November 2018.

That was the end of "House of Cards."

But the drama wasn't totally over!

In January 2019 MRC sued Kevin alleging he "breached provisions of both the Acting and Executive Producing Agreements that set standards for his workplace conduct, including by breaching MRC's Harassment Policy.

MRC's lawsuit sought compensation FROM SPACEY PERSONALLY for the financial damages it incurred for having to scrap the entire sixth season after filming two episodes. Furthermore, MRC claimed in the scramble to right the ship, it only had enough time to produce eight episodes for the sixth season, five fewer than Netflix ordered. MRC lost millions in licensing fees by not being able to deliver a full season.

In response, Spacey claimed HE was the one whose agreement was breached. Spacey claimed that the allegations, some of which he disputed, did not result in a breach of his contracts. He claimed it was a simple business decision that MRC made.

The lawsuit went to arbitration and a decision was made today.

Today MRC was awarded $29.5 million in damages and $1.4 million in attorney's fees from Spacey. In total, the bill comes to almost exactly $31 million.

Unclear if Spacey can appeal. If he can, I'm sure he will. By our count, Kevin Spacey's net worth currently sits at $70 million. A healthy chunk of change, but still a very painful hit if $31 million is upheld.

On the plus side, this terrible situation prevented more seasons of "House of Cards" from being produced. It also gave rise to Kevin Spacey the once-per-year awkward YouTube star.

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