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US actor Kevin Spacey to pay just $1 million in ‘House of Cards’ settlement

Actor Kevin Spacey walks outside Southwark Crown Court in London, Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
Actor Kevin Spacey walks outside Southwark Crown Court in London, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Copyright Alberto Pezzali/AP Photo
Copyright Alberto Pezzali/AP Photo
By Anca Ulea
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The actor was dropped from the hit show’s final season in 2017 amid accusations of sexual harassment. Now the production company behind ‘House of Cards’ needs his help.

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Kevin Spacey was facing a $36 million (€33 million) penalty from the production company that produced the hit Netflix show ‘House of Cards’.

The US actor had been accused of alleged sexual misconduct by male staff members on set, and was dropped by the company, MRC, for the final season of the hit show in 2017.

A judge later found that the accusations were credible, ordering Spacey to pay back $31 million (€28.7 million) that MRC lost in reworking the season, plus interest.

But the production company has now come to an agreement with Spacey to forgive $35 million (€32.5 million) of the debt he owes in exchange for something more valuable – Spacey’s help going after their insurance company.

According to reports by Variety and Puck, Spacey agreed to pay the $1 million (€928,000) fine in yearly instalments worth 10% of his taxed income. He also agreed to cooperate with MRC in its case against its insurance providers, Fireman’s Fund and Lloyd’s of London.

Production companies will routinely pay for cast insurance to protect themselves in case a key actor becomes too ill to perform.

In its initial insurance case in 2022, MRC argued that Spacey qualified as ill under the insurance agreement because he checked himself into a sex addiction facility in the aftermath of the alleged misconduct.

The insurance case was twice thrown out by a US judge, and definitively dismissed when it came to Lloyd’s of London. However, in November, MRC was given one last chance to amend their lawsuit against Fireman’s Fund.

MRC needed to specify Spacey’s illness, the judge said, and detail why it prevented him from performing. In order to do that, the production company would need access to Spacey’s medical records as well as his cooperation in the case.

According to Variety and Puck, the two sides came to an agreement on 16 December, two weeks before the deadline to file the amended insurance suit.

In exchange for the drastically reduced fine, Spacey agreed to testify in the case, to be examined by doctors for each side and to provide his medical records within 10 days.

MRC’s new lawsuit alleges that Spacey was being treated for anxiety and depression, which made him unable to work.

Fireman’s lawyers responded with a motion to dismiss the amended complaint, saying the production company was reaching with its new claims and that it “borders on the absurd.”

They called it a “180-degree pivot” from MRC’s arbitration case against Spacey, which stated that the company fired Spacey for violations to their sexual harassment policy, not illness.

“After years of trying to state a theoretically viable claim, it seems that they’ve completely lost sight of what actually occurred and their obligation to plead the truth,” Fireman’s team wrote in the motion, according to Variety.

Additional sources • Variety, Puck

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