Two days ago, actor Anthony Rapp accused Hollywood A-lister Kevin Spacey of making unwanted sexual advances when Rapp was only 14 years old. Spacey was 26 at the time.
Spacey immediately released a statement apologizing for his behavior (although he says he doesn’t remember any of it), and added that he now chooses “to live as a gay man” despite having both boyfriends and girlfriends in the past.
If Spacey thought coming out of the closet at this moment would limit the damage caused by Rapp’s accusation, he was dead wrong:
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.
House of Cards is one of the most popular Netflix shows in the company’s history, and Kevin Spacey is frequently praised for his depiction of the Machiavellian Francis Underwood. Last year he won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for it.
Netflix has issued a statement explaining that the companies involved are “deeply worried” by the accusation, and that House of Cards will not get a seventh season:
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.
There is a “but,” however. According to at least one Netflix representative, the decision to end House of Cards after the sixth season “was made months ago and was not in response to the allegations.”
If that is true, this new announcement is corporate spin meant to give Netflix subscribers the impression that the company has a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual intimidation (and even abuse).
There is a way for Netflix to set the record straight. Spacey is currently working on yet another Netflix project: a biopic about author Gore Vidal (called Gore). Deadline reports that Netflix is currently weighing its options regarding Gore. From the looks of it, the entire project may be canceled, Deadline writes.
Until that happens, the company will almost certainly be criticized for pretending that the decision to cancel House of Cards was made because of the accusations against Spacey.