Spacey’s own House of Cards brings down Netflix hit
By Mark Kennedy
AP Entertainment Writer
NEW YORK — The fallout from Kevin Spacey’s response to being accused of alleged sexual assault continued Monday, with the two-time Oscar winner being harshly criticized on social media, the plug pulled on his hit show “House of Cards” and “deeply troubled” producers of the political thriller arriving on set to comfort cast mates.
Executives from Netflix and the show’s producer, Media Rights Capital, said they arrived in Baltimore, where the show is shot, on Monday afternoon to make sure actors and crew “continue to feel safe and supported.” Spacey was not scheduled to be on set on Monday.
Though the decision to end the series was announced on Monday, the decision to pull the plug on the series was made several months ago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision.
Spacey is the latest Hollywood man to be named in widening allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in entertainment, media and other industries. The avalanche of allegations began earlier this month after the New York Times published a story alleging that producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed numerous women.
On Monday, NBC fired political journalist Mark Halperin after multiple allegations of sexual harassment, and The New Republic said it had launched an investigation after publisher and president Hamilton Fish was accused of harassing women.
In an interview published by BuzzFeed News on Sunday, actor Anthony Rapp alleged that he was attending a party at Spacey’s apartment in 1986 when an inebriated 26-year-old Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him. Rapp, then 14, was able to get away without any physical harm.
Spacey responded on Twitter by saying he doesn’t remember the alleged encounter but if he acted the way Rapp alleges, “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
Spacey then said Rapp’s story “encouraged” him to address long-simmering rumors about his sexuality. He wrote that he’s had romantic relationships with both men and women in the past but is now living “as a gay man” and wanted to be honest so he could examine “my own behavior.” Requests for comment went unanswered Monday.
The two-paragraph statement — an apology in the first for a 31-year-old alleged assault and a self-outing in the second — struck many as an odd time for Spacey to address his sexuality or even an attempt to deflect blame. Worse, he seemed to make a connection between being gay and sexual abuse of minors.
“Kevin Spacey really tried to throw the entire LGBT community under a bus and call it solidarity in an effort to mask his personal failings,” wrote civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson on Twitter. Actor Zachary Quinto called Spacey’s outing “a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusations.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay rights group GLAAD said in a statement that the story was really about unwanted sexual advances on Rapp not Spacey’s sexuality. “Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault,” she said.
Rapp cited the dozens of Weinstein accusers as the reason he recounted his encounter with Spacey.
“I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me,” he wrote on Twitter. Rapp, who starred on Broadway in “Rent,” currently stars in “Star Trek: Discovery.”
Many Hollywood figures came to Rapp’s side, including fellow “Discovery” co-star Wilson Cruz and Rose McGowan, one of the leading voices against sexual harassment in Hollywood, who said of Spacey: “It’s your turn to cry.”
Two comedians offered withering criticism: “You do not get to ‘choose’ to hide under the rainbow!” Wanda Sykes, outspoken member of the LGBT community, wrote on Twitter. Billy Eichner also blasted the move: “Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out.”
Former “House of Cards” showrunner Beau Willimon, who also serves as the president of the Writers Guild of America, East, called Rapp’s story “deeply troubling.”
In a statement, Willmon said: “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. That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage.”