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Production on House of Cards has been suspended indefinitely following the sexual harassment claim made against star and executive producer Kevin Spacey.
“MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on House of Cards season six, until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew,” the streaming giant and producer Media Rights Capital said Tuesday in a joint statement.
The suspension comes two days after Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp alleged in a BuzzFeed News article that Spacey made sexual advances towards him when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey immediately offered his “sincerest apology” to Rapp via Twitter and used his statement on the matter to come out as a gay man for the first time. The latter move was criticized by many in Hollywood as well as GLAAD, who accused Spacey of using his coming out as a way to “deflect from allegations of sexual assault.”
On Monday, Netflix and MRC issued a statement saying they were “deeply troubled” by the allegations. Executives from both companies traveled to Baltimore on Monday to meet with the cast and crew of the political drama “to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported,” the statement continued. Spacey was not on set at the time, as was previously scheduled.
Although production was already underway on season six, Netflix did not formally renew the acclaimed series until Monday. Netflix announced that the upcoming sixth season would be its last, a decision that predates the recent controversy surrounding the show’s star.
News also broke late Monday that Netflix is mulling possible House of Cards spinoffs, including one centered on star Michael Kelly’s character Doug Stamper.
Given that production on season six had already started, it’s unclear what Netflix and MRC’s next move will be. The drama is an important one for both companies, having helped launch the streaming giant into the original series space.
Spacey exec produces House of Cards with his producing partner Dana Brunetti, star Robin Wright, director David Fincher, John Mankiewicz, Daniel Minahan, Joshua Donen, Eric Roth, Michael Dobbs and original series creator Andrew Davies. Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese exec produce and serve as showrunners, having taken over for original showrunner Beau Willimon.
In a statement Monday, Willimon called the accusation made against Spacey “deeply troubling,” but also tried to defend Spacey’s conduct during their time working together. “During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off,” he said. “That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage.”
Spacey also has three upcoming films, including December release All the Money in the World, Billionaire Boys Club and Gore, the latter in which the actor is set to star as Gore Vidal and which also hails from Netflix. The streamer has yet to comment on the status of the film, which was expected to debut in 2018.
On Monday, the International TV Academy also announced it was revoking a planned honor Spacey was set to receive in light of the allegations.
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