Kevin Spacey ordered to pay $31M for breaching ‘House of Cards’ deal

Kevin spacey

A legal battle spanning two years has finally ended, resulting in an arbitrator-ordered payment from actor Kevin Spacey to House of Cards producer MRC.

Spacey must pay $31 million for breaching contractual obligations, according to the arbitrator’s decision. The decision, which was announced on Oct. 19, noted that Spacey “repeatedly breached contractual obligations” when he failed to perform his services “in a professional manner” that was “consistent with [MRC’s] reasonable directions, practices, and policies,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The producer’s anti-harassment policies are included in the obligations Spacey breached.

Spacey played the titular role of Frank Underwood in House of Cards, a hugely popular political thriller that ran for six seasons between early 2013 and late 2018. He was cut from the series before the final season aired, and was promptly written out of future episodes as sexual assault allegations began pouring in.

Spacey was accused of sexually preying on young men, with some accusations stemming from the set of House of Cards itself. The numerous accusations led MRC to a lengthy investigation, which ultimately resulted in Spacey’s removal from all MRC acting and producing projects.

MRC filed papers with the Los Angeles Supreme Court on Nov. 22, seeking to “confirm the arbitration award,” according to the Reporter. The media company suffered, following the revelations regarding Spacey’s conduct, in multiple ways, according to the documents. The sixth season of the series was underway when Spacey was removed, resulting in the entire season needing to be delayed, rewritten, and shortened to make up for Spacey’s absence.

Spacey claimed, back when the accusations initially arose, that he was still entitled to pay from MRC thanks to a “pay or play” deal. He also allegedly claimed that it was Netflix and MRC’s decision to cut him, rather than a result of his misconduct, and thus he had not acted outside the bounds of his contract.

The 62-year-old actor has sought an appeal of the arbitration, an attempt that has thus far been ineffective. In a statement, MRC said “the safety of our employees, sets, and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability.”