Kevin Spacey’s Motion to Seal Testimony From ‘House of Cards’ Accusers Granted
The allegations of “sexual touching” from several crew members led to a $31 million arbitration award against Spacey that the studio wants a judge to confirm next week over the actor’s objections
A California judge has granted Kevin Spacey’s request to permanently seal the names of his accusers and the “specifics” of their sexual harassment allegations related to his behind-the-scenes behavior on House of Cards that contributed to his 2017 termination from the hit Netflix show.
The ruling, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana at a hearing Thursday, comes ahead of a high-stakes showdown next week on the fate of the $31 million arbitration award that the actor was ordered to pay for breaching his contractual obligation to comply with the show’s harassment policy.
Spacey, the subject of multiple sexual misconduct allegations beyond his time on House of Cards, has asked Judge Recana to reconsider and reverse the arbitration award next week, even though he previously appealed the finding to an arbitration appellate panel and failed. The three-member panel upheld the award.
For its part, House of Cards producer MRC argued in a new filing this week that Spacey’s renewed attempt to overturn the award is “devoted to the same, factually false, twice-rejected argument that his breaches did not cause the shortening of Season 6 of House of Cards or MRC’s resulting losses.”
The studio argued in the Tuesday filing that the neutral arbitrator who decided the case “found that on over 10 different occasions, actor and producer Kevin Spacey egregiously breached his contractual obligations by sexually touching young crew members” on set.
“The arbitrator found that ‘Spacey’s actions were the impetus for the entire snowball that has become this case’— without which MRC would not have suffered a loss of $29.5 million in revenue brought about when the revelations of Spacey’s breaches forced MRC to remove him from Season 6, rework the entire Season, and shorten it from 13 to 8 episodes to meet Netflix’s deadlines,” the MRC filing obtained by Rolling Stone states.
Spacey and his lawyers first asked Judge Recana to vacate the arbitration award in a petition filed in January. A hearing on the dispute was then set for July 26.
According to the actor, the arbitrator concluded that Spacey breached his contract through interactions with “five specific crew members who only came forward as part of (MRC’s) solicitation of allegations against Spacey.” The actor argues that the results of the internal investigation were not delivered until June 11, 2018, so the earlier decisions to cut ties with Spacey and rework Season 6 “could not have flowed from the identified breaches and, thus, fell outside the scope of the arbitrator’s powers.”
Spacey, 62, was filming the sixth and final season of House of Cards in Oct. 2017 when Buzzfeed published the accusation that he forced himself on actor Anthony Rapp while at a party at his house in 1986 when Rapp was only 14 years old. Days later, CNN published a story with allegations from eight anonymous House of Cards crew members who accused Spacey of “predatory” behavior such as going for a handshake and pulling a person’s hand down to touch his crotch.
Spacey later said he didn’t recall the alleged incident with Rapp, but if it did occur, it was “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” He later said he was seeking treatment and since has largely withdrawn from public life. According to his court filings, Spacey says the $31 million arbitration award – including the $29.5 million in compensatory damages, $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees, and $235,707 in costs to MRC – is not based on any of the allegations in the CNN report.
MRC is a co-owner of Rolling Stone through a joint venture with Penske Media titled PMRC.
From Rolling Stone US.