Netflix Cancels House of Cards In Midst of Allegations Against Star Kevin Spacey

Melina Gills
Melina Gills
Netflix Cancels House of Cards In Midst of Allegations Against Star Kevin Spacey

Netflix has officially cancelled the popular political drama series House of Cards in the wake of news that its star, Kevin Spacey, has been accused of having made unwanted sexual advances on an underage actor thirty years ago, when Spacey was 26 years old.

“As allegations of unwanted sexual advances in 1986 by Kevin Spacey against then-14-year-old Anthony Rapp have emerged, Netflix today decided to pull the plug on the Spacey-starring House of Cards after the upcoming sixth season next year,” read a statement released by Netflix, in a report by Deadline.

Netflix had earlier released the following similar statement in association with its series production partner: “Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey. In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time.”

The news of the cancellation came twelve hours after Rapp recounted his alarming experience with Spacey in an interview with Buzzfeed on Sunday night. He told the website that in 1986, at a party at Spacey’s New York apartment, a drunk Spacey had picked him up, put him on a bed, and laid on top of him. He responded by “squirming away” and leaving. This two had met while they were performing in Broadway shows, Rapp in Precious Sons and Spacey in of Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

The fourteen-year-old Rapp had retreated into a bedroom to watch television when Spacey approached him, apparently after the other guests had left.

“My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk,” recounted Rapp. “He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”

“He was trying to seduce me,” continued Rapp. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

“My head was spinning,” Rapp said of his walk home afterward. “I have a memory of turning around and [thinking], What was that? What am I supposed to do with it? What does it mean?”

Netflix Cancels House of Cards In Midst of Allegations Against Star Kevin Spacey

At the time Spacey was not well-known and had no substantial film career, so Rapp reasoned that he could forget him and move on. He did not know then that Spacey would go on to have one of the most successful careers in Hollywood and Broadway, winning two Academy Awards and a Tony Award while appearing in dozens of films, many of them highly regarded.

Rapp had previously discussed this episode in The Advocate in 2001 but kept his alleged assailant anonymous. He felt emboldened to finally name the actor after the sudden recent outpouring of women and men coming forward with accounts of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.

More than forty women have now accused Harvey Weinstein of coercing them into various sexual acts, including rape, and more than 300 women have accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual misconduct – to name but a few of the recent allegations being made.

“I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out, to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me,” said Rapp in a later statement to People. “Everything I wanted to say about my experience is in that article, and I have no further comment about it at this time.”

Responding to the interview and the grave accusations therein, Spacey issued a statement on Twitter, stating that although he “did not remember the encounter,” he owed Rapp “the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” if the incident did indeed take place as described. “I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” said Spacey.

Spacey then took the opportunity to publicly define himself as a “gay man” for the first time in his career. It was this second part of his statement that has drawn ire on social media, including from several openly homosexual celebrities and GLAAD, for its apparent conflation of pedophilia and homosexuality.

“The story has encouraged me to address other things about my life,” said Spacey. He explained how he has, until now, carefully kept his personal life very private, before disclosing that he has had “relationships with both men and women” but chooses “now to live as a gay man.”

“I want to deal with this honesty and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior,” concluded Spacey, seemingly identifying a link between his potential sexual misconduct thirty years ago and his determined secrecy regarding his sexuality.

Spacey is a celebrated Oscar-winning actor whose widely praised performances include his roles in such films as The Usual Suspects, Se7en, American Beauty, Moon, and L.A. Confidential. He is also an accomplished theater actor, as is Rapp, whose first appearance on Broadway was in the beloved Rent.

The sixth, and now final, season of House of Cards—the series that, with an excellent pilot directed by filmmaker David Fincher, put Netflix on the map as a producer of original content in addition to being known as a well-stocked streaming service– is currently in production in Maryland and will premiere next year.

While the cancellation of the series has been a real possibility for a long time now, due to waning public interest and critical acclaim, a stronger test of how Spacey’s career will fare in light of these allegations and his subsequent response is the yet-unknown fate of another Spacey-starring Netflix project, the film Gore about the famous author Gore Vidal. 

Photos Credit: Netflix (top) / CBS (bottom)