Kevin Spacey, also known as Frank Underwood in the Netflix series “House of Cards,” faces $31 million from sexual harassment rippled effects. He must pay the show’s producers $29.5 million in compensatory damages and $1.4 million in attorney fees and costs for breaching his contract.
It all started in October of 2017, when actor Anthony Rapp (you might know him best as Mark from Rent) came forward saying Spacey made sexual advances toward him at a party in the 80’s, when Rapp was just 14. It wasn’t long after information got out that more victims came forward- from other actors like Robert Cavasos, down to a massage therapist. That’s a lot of people, a lot of stories, and a lot of evidence going against him. To top things off, Mr. Rapp’s public accusation came just weeks after The New York Times and The New Yorker published articles about the producer Harvey Weinstein and as the #MeToo movement was gaining steam.
As a personal injury law firm, we understand the magnitude of internal scars that harassments cause on its victims. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information on how justice was served on that front, but at least the production companies were fighting for justice in their own ways.
Of course, Spacey was fired. Netflix and Media Rights Capital, the production company that produces the series, issued a joint announcement,” 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.”
Now, let the real games begin. Sure, the series was always intended on producing six seasons, but that doesn’t mean it made production any easier. So, they sought justice of their own.
MRC released: “The Arbitrator further found that Spacey’s egregious breaches of contract proximately caused and rendered him (and his affiliated entities) liable for the tens of millions of dollars in losses MRC suffered when it had no choice, upon the revelations of Spacey’s pattern of harassment, to halt the production of Season 6 of the Show, to rewrite the entire season to omit Spacey’s character, and to shorten season 6 from 13 episodes to 8 to meet delivery deadlines.”
By not adhering to professional behavior, he breached his contract multiple times without MRC’s knowledge. Since they fired one of their main characters, they had to rewrite an entire season. As this most likely already made them behind in production, they had to shorten the season. That’s just Netflix and MRC. The show itself received the bulk of Maryland’s film tax credits, getting $53.1 million in total, but let’s not forget about the countless employees and local businesses they were partnered with.
Should we run some numbers? According to the Maryland Department of Commerce, the show contributed $590 million to the state’s economy over its five seasons of filming, renting or buying goods from about 2,000 local businesses each season. The county had almost 330 vendors that catered to the production, and that doesn’t even count the hotels and restaurants that benefitted from related business.
Those are some pretty large ripple effects that just one person stirred up. At Fuicelli & Lee, that’s what we think about when you’re injured. We think about the physical and emotional scars that are caused by someone else’s actions, the changes that have been made to the day-to-day, and how it will ripple into long-term care and consequences. We want justice for our clients. We have the resources to fight on their side, and get what is deserved.