Netflix has canceled any future seasons of House of Cards and it has put the sixth season, which they are currently filming, on-hold “indefinitely” after getting rid of Kevin Spacey. The lead actor on the show, Spacey, is up to his eyeballs in a scandal that snowballed after one man accused the actor of being sexually inappropriate with him when he was just a kid of 14.
The number of allegations grew and as of this week, several co-workers from the House of Cards have accused Spacey of sexual harassment, according to the Las Angeles Times. Public relations experts suggest that Netflix did the right thing by quickly severing their ties with Spacey and it will probably work in their favor.
Michael Pachter, who is a digital media analyst at Wedbush Securities, which is a company that covers Netflix, said: “I think Netflix is handling this extremely well.” He also conveyed that from an investor’s point of view, “this is what you want them to do.”
The experts suggest that from the popularity angle, Netflix should do just fine. But from the legal angle, this might be a different story. House of Cards was a pioneer for Netflix, giving the paid subscription streaming service it’s big break and bringing the masses to Netflix, which now boasts 104 million subscribers.
While House of Cards was Netflix’s first big break, the streaming service now has other hit shows of its own under their belt like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things. It seems that House of Cards was slowly running out of steam, as the show had already “past it’s prime,” according to the analysts.
Under normal circumstances, firing an actor from a TV series due to past sexual harassment claims would be about the only obligation the companies that owned and aired the show would have when it came to the actor’s misdeeds. But if that actor is also a producer of the show that puts him in the position of authority. If he was making unwanted sexual advances towards employees of the show the legal tide changes. Legal issues could hover over the companies involved in this series.
Kevin Spacey was a producer of House of Cards, which puts Netflix and the production company that owns the series, Media Rights Capital, in a tough spot. According to the Las Angeles Times, this could leave Netflix and Media Rights Capital holding the bag.
This week, eight current employees and and former employees of House of Cards have made allegations to CNN that set for the House of Cards was a “toxic” work environment created by Spacey. One production assistant claims that during one of the earlier seasons, Spacey sexually assaulted him. The Las Angeles Times reported the following.
“Netflix could face civil legal exposure from any employee harassment that occurred on House of Cards because Spacey was also credited as an executive producer on the show, which means that he was in a supervisory position, according to Genie Harrison, an attorney who specializes in employment and sexual harassment cases.”
The same holds true for Media Rights Capital, the studio behind the House of Cards. “Media Rights Capital could also face legal exposure for any of its employees who were harassed by Spacey on the show.”
Both Netflix and Media Rights Capitol acknowledge that back in 2012 allegation against Spacey were made by an employee on the set of House of Cards. Swift action was taken and Spacey participated in a training program due to the allegations. This had to do with “a specific remark and gesture” made by Spacey at the time. Both Netflix and Media Rights Capital are not aware of any other incidents and both companies said that one and the only allegation was swiftly resolved.
The future of House of Cards is unknown. According to Variety, the show is considering killing off Spacey’s House of Cards character, Frank Underwood. Those in charge of this decision are evaluating the options, but there’s been no decision reached as of yet on the avenue this hit show will take. For now, as the Los Angeles Times suggests with its article’s title, “Netflix has a mess on its hands with the collapse of House of Cards.
[Featured Image by Danielle Smith/AP Images]