By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> indefinitely halted production of political drama “House of Cards” on Tuesday following an allegation of sexual misconduct against series star Kevin Spacey.
Producer Media Rights Capital 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,” a statement said.
A day earlier, Netflix had said the groundbreaking show about a ruthless political power couple would conclude with season six. Representatives for Spacey did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
On Sunday, “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp told Buzzfeed that Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance toward him in 1986 when he was just 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner who is now 58, said he did not recall the incident. But in a tweet he said that if he did behave as Rapp described then he apologized and it would have been due to “inappropriate drunken behavior.”
Rapp told BuzzFeed he felt compelled to come forward after dozens of women recently accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and several other Hollywood figures of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Spacey’s apology sparked a backlash because he also used the statement to come out as a gay man. Many social media users saw it as a damaging conflation of sexual misconduct and being gay.
On Monday, Netflix and MRC called the allegation against Spacey “deeply troubling.”
“House of Cards” became Netflix’s defining show when it launched in 2013, upending traditional television viewership by making all episodes of each season available online at the same time.
Earlier on Tuesday, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said it was revoking a planned award for Spacey that he had been due to receive in New York on Nov. 20.
Spacey was to have received the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award, but the Academy said in a statement that “in light of recent events it will not honor Kevin Spacey” as planned.
In a separate statement, London’s Old Vic theater, where Spacey was artistic director from 2004 to 2015, said on Tuesday it was “deeply dismayed by the allegations of sexual misconduct” against Spacey.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Andrew Hay)