Eight current and former staffers on House of Cards have accused Kevin Spacey of creating “a ‘toxic’ work environment through a pattern of sexual harassment,” and one former employee said Spacey sexually assaulted him, CNN Money reports.
The crew members, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, “described Spacey’s behavior as ‘predatory,’ saying it included nonconsensual touching and crude comments and targeted production staffers who were typically young and male,” the news network notes in a story posted online this evening.
Several other people have come forward this week to accuse the House of Cards star of harassment or assault, after BuzzFeed published a story Sunday in which actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey aggressively attempted to “seduce” him in 1986, when Rapp was only 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember the alleged incident, “but if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” House of Cards has shut down production indefinitely, and Spacey said through his publicist that he is seeking treatment. He also came out as gay.
One former production assistant on House of Cards told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him during an early season of the award-winning Netflix show, in which Spacey played an unscrupulous U.S. president. The production assistant was sent to pick up Spacey and drive him to the set, about 30 miles from Baltimore. Spacey ended up taking over the driving, and while doing so he put his hands down the other man’s pants, the crew member said.
“I was in a state of shock,” the production assistant said. “He was a man in a very powerful position on the show and I was someone very low on the totem pole and on the food chain there.” There was more to the incident, but the P.A. did not want it described for fear it would reveal his identity.
Once at the set, the staffer said, he helped bring Spacey’s belongings into the star’s trailer, where Spacey “cornered him, blocked his exit and made inappropriate contact with him,” CNN reports. After the P.A. objected, he said, Spacey became “visibly flustered” and left the set for the rest of the day.
The production assistant had complained about Spacey sexually harassing him earlier, but that behavior had ceased long enough for him to feel comfortable with Spacey until the incident in the car, according to CNN.
Several other crew members gave accounts of inappropriate sexual behavior by Spacey. A woman who worked as a production assistant on the show said many of the men she worked with were uncomfortable with Spacey, and she often saw him go up to people and “say hello, greet them, shake their hand and pull their hand down to his crotch and touch their crotch. I have friends say he reached up their shorts on set.” Others said they didn’t complain because they thought no one would believe them and that they would be fired.
CNN sought comment from Spacey about the new allegations, but he did not respond. Netflix released a statement saying, “Netflix was just made aware of one incident, five years ago, that we were informed was resolved swiftly. On Tuesday, in collaboration with MRC [the House of Cards production company], we suspended production, knowing that Kevin Spacey wasn't scheduled to work until Wednesday. Netflix is not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set. We continue to collaborate with MRC and other production partners to maintain a safe and respectful working environment. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the production, and have nothing further to share at this time.”
MRC released this statement: “We are deeply troubled to learn about these new allegations that are being made to the press concerning Kevin Spacey’s interaction with members of the crew of House of Cards. As the producer of the show, creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our cast and crew has always been our top priority. We have consistently reinforced the importance of employees reporting any incident without fear of retaliation and we have investigated and taken appropriate actions following any complaints. For example, during our first year of production in 2012, someone on the crew shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey. Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey.”
The production company has also set up an anonymous complaint hotline and retained crisis counselors and legal advisers to assist employees with claims of sexual harassment, officials said.