Kevin Spacey must pay $31 million (£25.5 million) to the producers of House of Cards over losses relating to allegations of sexual misconduct by the actor, after losing an appeal over the sum.
Spacey had sought to overturn an arbitration order requiring him to pay media company MRC damages following “explosive” allegations involving young crew members that led to his firing from the popular Netflix show in 2017.
But Los Angeles Judge Mel Red Recana found that Spacey and his lawyers “fail to demonstrate that this is even a close case”, according to documents seen by the Press Association.
She further said the Hollywood star and his team did not “demonstrate that the damages award was so utterly irrational that it amounts to an arbitrary remaking of the parties’ contracts”.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” said Michael Kump, MCR’s attorney, after the ruling.
Losses after House of Cards forced to shorten sixth season
Spacey, 63, starred in House of Cards for five seasons, playing the ruthless politician Frank Underwood – before the Oscar winner’s career came to an abrupt halt in 2017, when several sexual misconduct allegations surfaced. He has denied them.
In its complaint, MRC said it had to fire Spacey, halt production of the show’s sixth season and rewrite it to remove Spacey’s central character following claims he “systematically” preyed upon and sexually harassed young male staff throughout his career.
The media company said it was forced to shorten its sixth season from 13 to eight episodes to meet deadlines, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses, according to court documents.
An arbitration process determined that Spacey had repeatedly breached contractual obligations, including MRC’s anti-harassment policies.
The arbitrator also found that Spacey was not entitled to be paid for the remainder of his contract, as his dismissal had caused the show’s sixth season to be shortened and rewritten and cost MRC millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Spacey’s attorneys argued in their own filings that the decision to exclude him from the show’s sixth season came before the internal investigation that led the crew members to come forward, and thus was not part of a contract breach.
They argued that the actor’s actions were not a substantial factor in the show’s losses.
The latest development comes after Spacey appeared in a UK court last month to “strenuously” deny separate charges of sexually assaulting three men a decade or more ago, when he was director of London’s Old Vic theatre.