Netflix drops Kevin Spacey over sexual harassment allegations

Netflix drops Kevin Spacey over sexual harassment allegations

Kevin Spacey, one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actors, known for his roles in House of Cards, American Beauty and The Usual Suspects, has been tarnished by several allegations of sexual assault, prompting Netflix to cease working with him.

Last weekend, the Oscar winner apologised to Star Trek Actor Anthony Rapp, who was one of the first to speak out, accusing him of making sexual advances towards him in 1985 – when he was 14 and Spacey was 26.

In a statement, Spacey said that he did "not remember the encounter", but said that he was "beyond horrified to hear his story". "If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology," he added.

Since, several allegations have surfaced, including that the actor had a relationship with a 14-year-old boy in the 1980s, eight current or former House of Cards workers have claimed Spacey made the production a “toxic” workplace and one ex-employee alleges the actor sexually assaulted him – The Guardian reports. Actor Harry Dreyfuss wrote in a BuzzFeed report that he was groped by Spacey while his father, Jaws actor Richard, was in the room.

A British barman who worked at London’s Old Vic when Spacey was Artistic Director, alleges that Spacey flashed at him outside a hotel then handed over his $8,545 watch to prevent him from going public.

Production of House of Cards was suspended just days after Rapp’s accusations came to light. The International Emmy Awards has also said it has revoked plans to honour Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award.

In a statement, Netflix said it “will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey. We will continue to work with MRC (production company Media Rights Capital) during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show.

“We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey.”

In addition, sources on the set of Gore have claimed that Spacey was dubbed “dead hands” due to his groping of men – The Sun reports.

Spacey has not been arrested or charged with any crime and has not commented since his apology to Rapp, where he also announced that he is gay. He added: “I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with me examining my own behaviour.” Many have criticised his announcement for making reference to his sexuality. BuzzFeed reports that Spacey “[weaponized] the closet, shielding his own behaviour from scrutiny under the guise of merely protecting his privacy.”

Whilst Netflix’s decision to halt any production of House of Cards is welcome in that it publicly condemns Spacey’s behaviour, others have used the decision to criticise lax attitudes towards other powerful figures.

The courageous individuals who spoke out against Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein appear to have sparked a movement. Just last week, a dirty dossier revealed that a number of ‘High-libido MPs’ have been accused of sexual misconduct. These ongoing allegations may prompt HR departments across the world to review their policies.

David Southall, an employment law Consultant for the ELAS Group, explains that firms should create an environment where staff are comfortable to raise issues. He says: "All employers should have an Equal Opportunities Policy,” and “should have clear and comprehensive Harassment and Grievance Policies. However it is not sufficient just to have policies in place. Thought should be given to how comfortable employees would be raising issues which are potentially career ending, especially if they are made against a person in a powerful position.

"There needs to be faith in the workforce that if they raise sensitive concerns these will be dealt with in a sensitive and supportive manner.  The suspicion that allegations will be ignored or parked in an administrative dead end needs to be dissipated. Addressing and resolving any issues in a sensitive and intelligent manner will maintain staff morale and loyalty, as well as avoid unnecessary law suits and dismissals.”

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