Kevin Spacey has been accused of creating a “toxic” work environment on the set of House of Cards through an alleged pattern of sexual assault and harassment.
Eight employees who work on (or used to work on) the Netflix show have come forward to CNN, describing Spacey’s behaviour – which they say included groping and lewd comments directed, typically, at young, male staffers – as “predatory.”
One production assistant, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has also accused Spacey of assaulting him during one of the show’s earlier seasons.
The alleged incident occurred when the staffer was tasked with picking Spacey up and driving him to set. At some point during the journey, the actor allegedly put his hands down the production assistant’s pants in a “non-consensual” act.
“I was in a state of shock,” he told CNN. “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.”
The production assistant did not tell any of his managers at the time, he said: however, he had previously told a supervisor that Spacey was sexually harassing him.
“I have no doubt that this type of predatory behaviour was routine for him and that my experience was one of many and that Kevin had few if any qualms about exploiting his status and position,” the staffer said.
“It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors.”
Netflix has since been made aware of the alleged incident. In a statement to CNN, the streaming service said: “Netflix was just made aware of one incident, five years ago, that we were informed was resolved swiftly.
“On Tuesday, in collaboration with MRC, 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.”
The statement went on to say: “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.”
Meanwhile, House of Cards’ production company, MRC, has informed CNN that they have put in place “an anonymous complaint hotline, crisis counsellors, and sexual harassment legal advisor for the crew.”
New allegations have emerged from a number of men accusing Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct. Filmmaker Tony Montana has claimed that Spacey “forcefully” grabbed his crotch in 2003, while Roberto Cavazos, who acted in several plays at the Old Vic Theatre in London while Spacey was artistic director, claims the star “routinely preyed” on young male actors.
These allegations follow Anthony Rapp’s claim that the House of Cards star tried to “seduce” him when he was 14 years old.
Kevin Spacey says he has no recollection of that encounter, and was “beyond horrified”. His publicist has since said that the veteran actor is seeking help after more men have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.
“Kevin Spacey is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment,” the statement reads. “No other information is available at this time.”
It is unclear what kind of treatment Spacey will be seeking.
Images: Rex Features