‘House of Cards’ Dispute Kevin Spacey Must Pay $31M, Judge Affirms

An arbitrator awarded MRC damages in the eight-figure range after the actor was accused of sexual misconduct. To the disappointment of Kevin Spacey, the actor has been sentenced to pay MRC $31 million in arbitration damages for sexual misbehavior on the set of Netflix’s House of Cards involving underage crew members.

This season of Netflix’s House of Cards was cut short due to accusations that actor Kevin Spacey preyed on young men. Allegations of harassment and failure to deliver services “in a professional way” were found by an arbitrator in the arbitration process. Even though Spacey’s contract stated that he would get a pay-or-play clause, the arbitrator determined that the show’s sixth season was curtailed and rewritten due to his misconduct and that it cost MRC eight figures in costs and revenue.

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As a result of the award, the actor’s legal team challenged the decision in open court, arguing that the decision was “permeated with factual and legal errors—most fundamentally, it’s finding that MRC proved by an overwhelming preponderance of the evidence that Spacey sexually harassed five former [House of Cards] crewmembers.” On-set sex innuendos, jokes, and lighthearted horseplay were “pervasive,” but Spacey never harmed a single person, according to his lawyers. A warning that “his actions made someone uncomfortable or were in any way undesirable” prompted him to cease.

'House of Cards' Dispute Kevin Spacey Must Pay $31M, Judge Affirms
‘House of Cards’ Dispute Kevin Spacey Must Pay $31M, Judge Affirms.

A tentative verdict was adopted by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana on Thursday, following oral arguments. A court cannot challenge an arbitrator’s judgment that the Respondents’ violation caused the losses stated since it is a factual finding, Recana states in the ruling below. In addition, a judge cannot assess the arbitration award’s evidence sufficiency. A three-arbitration panel also upheld it under the JAMS Optional Arbitration Appeal Procedure.”

To be overturned, an arbitrator’s ruling typically needs to be “utterly illogical,” which isn’t the case here, as Arcana emphasized. MRC’s attorney Michael Kump said, “We are happy with the court’s decision.” The Hollywood Reporter is owned by PMRC, a joint venture between MRC and Penske Media Corporation.