There was a time when Kevin Spacey was on top of the world. Appearing in hit films like “American Beauty” and starring in the wildly popular “House of Cards,” Spacey was a force to be reckoned with. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement and revelations about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Spacey’s own house of cards came tumbling down.
After one star bravely shared that he had been sexually harassed by Spacey as a teenager, several others came forward. In a desire to hold Spacey accountable and distance themselves from the growing scandal, the company producing House of Cards took it upon themselves to write out the character and incurred millions of dollars of losses in the process. Now, they’re getting some of that back.
Kevin Spacey Ordered to Pay $31 Million
It’s been a years-long battle, but Spacey is finally being called to pay the piper for the impact his behavior had on his coworkers and the studio that produced House of Cards – MCR. A document filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that requested a judge approval reveals that the arbitrators did in fact find that Spacey violated his contract’s demand for professional behaviors. Even without his past behaviors, they found that Spacey was, “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,” per AP via MSN.
In order to address Spacey’s behaviors, MCR was forced to fire Spacey, halt production, and rewrite the entire sixth season to exclude Spacey’s very central character. They also had to shorten the season from 13 to 8 episodes, and the overall effect netted tens of millions of losses. AP adds, “‘The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability,’ MRC said in a statement Monday.”
Although Spacey tried to appeal the ruling, the arbitrators found in favor of the plaintiffs and he will now need to pay around $30 million, nearly half of his acting fortune.
But what could have been so terrible that they’d fire not just a producer but an actor with a portfolio like Spacey? The truth, and it all started with Anthony Rapp. Rapp is an actor as well, having appeared in Rent on Broadway and currently starring in Star Trek: Discovery. As the #MeToo movement began gaining steam in 2017, Rapp bravely came forward with the horrifying story that when he was 14 in the 1980’s, Spacey made sexual advances towards him at a party. Spacey claimed at the time that he didn’t remember, but apologized.
However, Rapp was just the tip of the iceberg. Several other people have since filed lawsuits against Spacey for sexual misconduct. An independent investigation found that he had engaged in widespread sexual harassment in the workplace, especially to those who work in positions beneath his. It was the end of decades of secrets; Spacey’s dark past was coming to light.
Several of the cases against him have faltered. In one case, the person accusing Spacey refused to testify. In another case, the plaintiff died. So while Spacey has been accused of serious things by many people, he’s been avoiding accountability for the most part aside from Rapp’s lawsuit. It’s a difficult situation because the people accusing Spacey are by and large men – and testifying in public about a subject still often seen as taboo – intimacy between men – makes them hesitant to publicly share their stories. However, Spacey’s decades-long abuses had to come to light eventually, and now the actor is finally being forced to pay the piper for his behavior.
Harvey Weinstein Revelations Paved the Way for Spacey’s Secrets to Out
Part of what made this accountability possible was the revelation about Harvey Weinstein that was central to the 2017 #MeToo movement. The disgraced Hollywood mogul is currently serving 23 years in prison in New York State on charges of rape and sexual assault, and this year battling against even more charges in California.
The #MeToo movement’s steam gathered around the revelation that Weinstein was using his position of power and wealth to sexually assault dozens of women and girls. It came to light that Weinstein’s abuses were Hollywood’s worst kept secrets, with male actors looking away and female actors knowing not to be alone with him – and yet, no one stopped him. It wasn’t until 2017 when enough momentum was gained to finally start holding Weinstein accountable, forcing him to face the music for his horrifying decades-long abuses. Weinstein is right up there with Jeffrey Epstein, sexual predator to the stars, in number of victims and horrors perpetrated.
It’s a reminder that often times, power buys silence, and that silence can cover some unimaginable horrors. Spacey being forced to pony up tens of millions is a start – but more accountability must follow.