Netflix announced Tuesday that it is suspending production of the sixth season of “House of Cards” in the wake of harassment allegations involving the show’s star, Kevin Spacey. On Sunday, actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey had made sexual advances toward him decades ago, when Rapp was 14.
In a joint statement, production company Media Rights Capital and the streaming service said: “MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on ‘House of Cards’ season 6, until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.”
The Washington, D.C., drama, starring Spacey as Machiavellian politician Frank Underwood, has run five seasons of 13 episodes each since 2013. Season 6, which began production about two weeks ago in Baltimore, had been scheduled to premiere next year. A Netflix spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a Newsday query of how many episodes have been filmed so far and whether the season still would air. Netflix already had said Monday that the season would be the show’s last.
The show, Netflix’s first hit and a cornerstone of its programming, has been nominated for 53 Primetime Emmy Awards, including for Outstanding Drama Series all five seasons.
In related news, Variety reported that Netflix and MRC are in early talks about the possibility of a “House of Cards” spinoff. One potential series would feature Underwood’s chief of staff Doug Stamper, a role for which Michael Kelly has earned three Emmy nominations.
Also, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which administers the International Emmy Awards, has rescinded the Founders Award the organization had announced in June it would bestow on Spacey at its gala on Nov. 20. In a statement, the Academy said “that in light of recent events it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award.” The award “recognizes an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch our common humanity,” the group said in June.
After “Star Trek: Discovery” star Rapp, 46, made his accusation, Tony- and two-time Academy Award-winner Spacey, 58, apologized in a statement, saying “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.”
In the same statement, Spacey publicly acknowledged for the first time that he is a gay man.