Kevin Spacey must pay House of Cards producer MRC almost $31 million for his alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the Netflix series, a judge ruled on Thursday.
Spacey played Frank Underwood on the Netflix series until allegations surfaced that he had sexually preyed on younger men. As a result, MRC conducted an investigation and fired him from the show.
Deadline reports that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana ruled Thursday that Spacey must pay $29.5 million in damages and the remainder in costs and fees, as decided by an arbitrator in October 2020. The arbitrator found that Spacey's conduct constituted a material breach of his acting and executive producing contracts.
According to the judge's 14-page ruling, even in a close case, the arbitrator's decision stands, but he added, "Here, [Spacey] fails to demonstrate that this is even a close case."
Spacey's attorney, Jonathan E. Phillips, argued that the arbitrator exceeded the scope of his powers in using external evidence to decide on damages. The external evidence he was referring to was a November 2017 CNN article detailing Spacey's sexually predatory behavior and subsequent firing.
Despite citing the external evidence, the arbitrator claimed that Spacey breached his agreements as a result of his interactions with five different crew members who came forward with their allegations.
In response, Spacey's lawyer said in court papers, "because the arbitrator committed — namely, the damages awarded to [MRC] are not rationally related to the specific breaches found by the arbitrator — [Spacey] is entitled to an order from this court vacating the award."
Judge Recana, however, wrote that he was "not compelled to infer that the arbitrator's award was not based on the breach of the parties' agreements or that it was "based on an [external] source."
Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.