Kevin Spacey was ordered by a judge Thursday to pay $31 million to the producers of “House of Cards” after he was fired in 2018 following alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the political drama.
The 63-year-old disgraced actor, who starred on the Netflix show from 2013-17, was accused of preying on multiple young men, including a production assistant, which prompted an investigation by the MRC production company and ultimate termination of Spacey from his role in addition to any producing contracts.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana confirmed the ruling in MRC’s favor, consisting of $29.5 million in damages and an additional $1.5 million in attorney’s fees and costs, according to Deadline.
“Here, [Spacey] fails to demonstrate that this is even a close case,” the judge said.
An arbitrator had previously reviewed eight days of testimony in November 2021 and ruled in favor of Media Rights Capital (MRC), with the company being awarded the damages due to lost revenue.
At the time, the arbitrator deemed Spacey’s conduct “constituted a material breach of his acting and executive producing agreements.”
The judge detailed an article referencing MRC’s investigation upon learning of the accusations, and based on the findings, suspended the actor, wrote him out of the final season and terminated his executive producing contracts.
Arbitration deemed Spacey’s interactions with crew members after the incidents as a breach of agreement.
Jonathan E. Phillips, Spacey’s attorney, reportedly argued that the award should be vacated, and said the arbitrator “exceeded the scope of his powers when he considered external evidence in deciding damages.”
He added in court papers, “However, because the arbitrator committed — namely, the damages awarded to [MRC] are not rationally related to the specific breaches found by the arbitrator — [Spacey] is entitled to an order from this court vacating the award.”
Recana wrote he was “not compelled to infer that the arbitrator’s award was not based on the breach of the parties’ agreements or that it was based on an [external] source.”
Spacey starred as Frank Underwood on the series but was replaced by Robin Wright as the lead for the last season, which was chopped down to 13 episodes following the scandal.
His lawyers attempted to get the $31 million arbitration thrown out in January, claiming Spacey’s on-set actions were simply “sexual innuendos” and “innocent horseplay.”
Spacey was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent” in May by the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom.
The alleged incidents took place in London between March 2005 and August 2008, and one in western England in April 2013. The three alleged male victims are now in their 30s and 40s.
The Academy Award-winner’s career came to an abrupt halt in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of assaulting him at a party in the 1980s, when Rapp was a teenager.