“House of Cards,” the drama starring Kevin Spacey as a Machiavellian U.S. president, which effectively launched the Netflix TV empire, will end after its sixth season, the streaming giant announced Monday. News of the cancellation broke a day after “Star Trek Discovery” star Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him when he was 14 and Spacey was 26.
Netflix said the decision to cancel the series was made months ago. Nevertheless, in a statement it said, “Media Rights Capital [a Hollywood-based co-producer of ‘House of Cards’] and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey. In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time.”
“House of Cards” is expected to stream its sixth — and now final — season next year.
Meanwhile, many entertainment-industry figures are criticizing Spacey for his handling of an apology to Rapp.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor,” Spacey, 58, tweeted Sunday, at roughly the same time Rapp’s recollections were published on BuzzFeed.com. “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
The Tony Award- and two-time Academy Award-winner added that while he has zealously guarded his privacy throughout his career, he would now reveal that, “I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”
“No no no no no! You do not get to ‘choose’ to hide under the rainbow!” comedian Wanda Sykes tweeted in response. Others questioned both Spacey’s timing and what they considered the star’s conflation of gay orientation with pedophilia.
“Gay = Gay. Predator = Predator,” tweeted actress Rose McGowan, one of the most prominent critics of recently ousted studio executive Harvey Weinstein, accused by more than 60 women of decades of sexual misconduct. Comedian Cameron Esposito added, “Just wanna be really . . . clear that being gay has nothing to do w/ going after underage folks.” Other people chimed in as well, with one woman tweeting, “My gay son & his friends fight stereotypes constantly — shame on you Kevin Spacey for linking assaulting a minor with coming out as gay.”
Beau Willimon, who created the U.S. version of Spacey’s Netflix political drama, “House of Cards” and was its showrunner for four seasons, tweeted, “Anthony Rapp’s story is deeply troubling. 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.”
Rapp, who turned 46 on Thursday, has been a stage and screen actor since age 10, with adult credits including Broadway’s “Rent” and “If/Then.” The alleged sexual advances occurred during a 1986 party with other actors at Spacey’s Manhattan apartment.
“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 tweeted after the story’s publication. “Everything I wanted to say about my experience is in that article, and I have no further comment about it at this time.”