When “House of Cards” debuted in 2013, it catapulted Netflix into a complete new stage of Hollywood recognition and acclaim. The darkish political sequence about an unscrupulous Washington energy couple grew to become Netflix’s first breakout hit, planting a flag for the streaming service within the aggressive world of authentic TV programming.
But simply as its protagonist Frank Underwood fell ignominiously from energy final season, the sequence itself has collapsed in scandalous style following allegations round actor Kevin Spacey, who has been accused of badual harbadment and badault by quite a few males together with staff on the present.
Netflix isn’t the one firm left holding the bag. Media Rights Capital is the manufacturing firm that owns the sequence and licenses it to Netflix. Since information about Spacey broke Sunday, adopted by extra allegations, the businesses moved shortly to cancel the seventh season of “House of Cards” and put manufacturing of the sixth season on indefinite maintain. Netflix mentioned in a press release Friday evening that it’s chopping all ties with Spacey and that he is not going to be concerned with the present that he has starred in since 2013.
“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of ‘House of Cards’ that includes Kevin Spacey,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.
While the scandal represents a public-relations debacle for Netflix, it isn’t prone to materially have an effect on the corporate, regardless that “House of Cards” stays considered one of its hottest sequence, consultants mentioned.
“I think of ‘House of Cards’ as a trampoline,” mentioned Paul Levinson, a professor of media and communications at Fordham University. “Netflix put it up, jumped on it and Netflix got so high that it no longer needs ‘House of Cards.’ ”
Netflix spent about $100 million to supply two 13-episode seasons for “House of Cards.” The political drama launched the corporate’s enterprise into authentic programming, serving to to remodel the streaming service into a world powerhouse and disrupter of the TV enterprise. The Los Gatos-based firm now has 104 million paid streaming subscribers and has made huge investments in new reveals. It will spend as a lot as $eight billion on content material subsequent yr alone.
As a consequence, Netflix now has a number of hit sequence — together with “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “The Crown” — that it may depend on to retain and appeal to subscribers.
The pace at which Netflix responded to the allegations in opposition to Spacey — the primary of which was made by actor Anthony Rapp on Sunday in Buzzfeed — will probably work within the firm’s favor, in accordance with Michael Pachter, a digital media badyst at Wedbush Securities, the place he covers Netflix.
“I think Netflix is handling this extremely well,” Pachter mentioned. “This is what you want them to do from an investor’s point of view.”
Analysts mentioned the cancellation of “House of Cards” was probably a simple resolution for Netflix to make as a result of the sequence was already previous its prime and nearing the tip of its run.
Public scandals are uncommon for main TV sequence however not exceptional. The most up-to-date occasion was CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” which noticed the departure of Charlie Sheen after the actor’s private issues grew to become public. His character was killed off from the present.
Among “House of Cards” followers, the latest season was seen as one thing of a artistic resurgence however the present was clearly on the decline and had misplaced plenty of its buzz. Creator and showrunner Beau Willimon had left the present final yr after 4 seasons.
“During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on ‘House of Cards,’ I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off,” Willimon said in a statement. “That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage.”
Rapp alleged that he was 14 when Spacey made an undesirable badual advance on him in the course of the 1980s. Spacey responded by saying that he didn’t recall the incident, however provided Rapp “the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken habits.” The two-time Academy Award winner additionally used the chance to come back out as a homobadual man.
Since Sunday, the accusations have shortly snowballed, together with an unnamed artist who instructed Vulture that he was a minor when he entered right into a consensual badual relationship with Spacey a long time in the past.
On Thursday, eight present and former “House of Cards” staff alleged to CNN that Spacey created a “toxic” work atmosphere together with his habits. The allegations embrace one former manufacturing badistant who mentioned Spacey badually badaulted him throughout one of many present’s early seasons.
A consultant for Spacey couldn’t be reached for remark.
Netflix might face civil authorized publicity from any worker harbadment that occurred on “House of Cards” as a result of Spacey was additionally credited as an govt producer on the present, which signifies that he was in a supervisory place, in accordance with Genie Harrison, an lawyer who focuses on employment and badual harbadment instances.
“The company will have strict liability because he’s a supervisor and because he would be seen as acting on behalf of the company,” Harrison mentioned.
As the studio behind “House of Cards,” Media Rights Capital might additionally face authorized publicity for any of its staff who had been harbaded by Spacey on the present.
MRC, which relies in Beverly Hills, declined a request for an interview however mentioned in a press release that in the course of the present’s first yr of manufacturing, in 2012, somebody on the crew shared a criticism a couple of particular comment and gesture made by Spacey. The firm didn’t elaborate on the character of the criticism.
“Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey,” the corporate mentioned within the badertion.
Netflix, which additionally declined an interview request, mentioned in a press release Friday that it was simply made conscious of the 2012 incident and was knowledgeable that it was swiftly resolved.
“Netflix is not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set,” the corporate mentioned in a press release. “We continue to collaborate with MRC and other production partners to maintain a safe and respectful working environment.”
Both firms mentioned they’re evaluating the way forward for “House of Cards.” It stays unclear if writers and a whole bunch of Maryland-based crew are being saved on the payroll as executives determine on the destiny of the sixth season.
MRC could be on the hook for no matter bills need to be absorbed as manufacturing on “House of Cards” is shut down, although the corporate might have insurance coverage to cowl such occasions.
“House of Cards” is estimated to price a number of tens of millions of per episode, with every season consisting of 13 installments.
MRC bought the worldwide rights for “House of Cards” to Netflix in a deal estimated to be price greater than $200 million, in accordance with one trade govt accustomed to the present.
Even if Netflix emerges comparatively unscathed from “House of Cards,” the streaming service faces one other problem with an upcoming film it’s making with Spacey, during which he performs the late author Gore Vidal.
The film, which had been anticipated to be launched subsequent yr, is believed to give attention to the years that Vidal spent in digital exile in Italy. Netflix mentioned Friday evening that it’s going to not launch the movie.
Netflix rival Amazon Studios confronted its personal scandal final month when Roy Price resigned as head of the studio after accusations made by an govt producer that Price had made lewd remarks and undesirable advances.