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Kevin Spacey has been ordered to pay ‘House of Cards' producers $31 million.
The 63-year-old actor was dropped from the Netflix series in 2017 after being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple young men and he was later sued by programme makers MRC for breach of contract after they said he had violated the company's sexual harassment policy, and on Thursday (04.08.22), a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered him to pay £29.5 million in damages and an additional $1.5 million in legal fees and costs, People magazine reports.
When MRC first took action against Spacey – who they alleged cost millions in lost profits after they were forced to remove him from the show and cut its sixth and final season short by five episodes – the disgraced star's lawyers filed an opposition asking for the motion to be set aside.
They argued: “The truth is that while Spacey participated in a pervasive on-set culture that was filled with sexual innuendoes, jokes, and innocent horseplay, he never sexually harassed anyone.
“In fact, as the evidence established and the Arbitrator recognized in the Award, the few times Spacey was told that his conduct made someone feel uncomfortable or was in any way unwanted, he stopped.”
But the production company quietly won the arbitration award in 2020, with the ruling coming to light in November the following year when MRC filed a petition in civil court to confirm the award.
Spacey's lawyers disagreed with the findings of the arbitrator – who ruled MCR had a right to the money, which should be paid by the ‘American Beauty' actor and his companies M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions – as they argued external allegations against their client couldn't be considered because Netflix were unaware of many of the claims when they fired him from the show.
They wrote: “As the Arbitrator recognised, the reduction in episodes was a foregone conclusion once Netflix dictated to Petitioners that Spacey could not and would not be a part of Season 6.
“But what the Arbitrator ignored is that the conduct he found to be in breach of the Agreements was not even known by Netflix at the time it made this decision. In other words, the breaches found by the Arbitrator could not have been related to Petitioners' damages because those damages had already been caused by the time the breaching conduct was known.”
MRC are happy with the outcome at the Superior Court.
Their attorney, Michael Kump, said: “We are pleased with the court's ruling.”