Kevin Spacey plays President Frank Underwood in a scene from House of Cards. (Netflix photo via AP)
Netflix is severing all ties with actor Kevin Spacey amid allegations of sexual harassment on the set of the company’s iconic political drama, House of Cards.
Shooting of the sixth and final season of the show was halted earlier this week, just as it was getting under way in Baltimore. Its 58-year-old star had yet to arrive.
The studio that owns the series, Media Rights Capital, said in a statement that it had suspended the Oscar winner while it continued its investigation into the allegations.
Both companies said they would work together to evaluate the future of the show. Netflix is also axing a movie starring and produced by Spacey, which had already completed filming.
“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey,” a company spokesman said in an emailed statement.
“We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore,” it added, referring to a biography starring Spacey as the American writer Gore Vidal.
The allegations against Spacey have pulled Netflix into the fast-spreading controversy over sexual harassment in Hollywood, which has already felled film producers, agents, actors and filmmakers in recent weeks. Weinstein Co fired co-founder Harvey Weinstein for his alleged sexual predation, while Amazon fired the head of its TV and film studio.
House of Cards helped put Netflix on the map as a home of high-end TV. The show was its first hit original series, earning critical praise, winning awards and convincing millions of people to sign up for the streaming service.
Netflix’s decision to distance itself from Spacey comes after a person familiar with the matter said the talent agency Creative Artists Agency had also parted ways with the actor. Spacey spokeswoman Staci Wolfe has also cut ties, Deadline reported earlier. CAA represents many of the biggest figures on House of Cards, including Spacey’s co-star Robin Wright.
Spacey created a “toxic” environment for workers on the television show, CNN reported, citing interviews with eight people who work on the show or used to. A former production assistant told the network that Spacey sexually assaulted him during one of the early seasons.
The allegations came to light after Anthony Rapp, a star of the CBS online series Star Trek: Discovery, told BuzzFeed that he was accosted at age 14 by Spacey at a party in 1986. Spacey issued an apology for that incident and was said to be seeking treatment, CNN reported.
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