Judge Rules Kevin Spacey Must Pay $31 Million in Damages Over House of Cards Firing

Former House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey has been ordered to pay the show’s producer MRC nearly $31 million in damages for his alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes, a judge confirmed on Thursday.

Spacey was sacked from his role as Frank Underwood on the Netflix drama in 2017 after allegations arose that the actor was sexually preying on several young men on set—including the alleged groping of a production assistant.

Producer MRC worked quickly to terminate Spacey and open an independent investigation into the allegations, stating that “the safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability.”


Deadline reports that the 2017 arbitration hearings—which included eight days of live testimony and 20 hours of videotaped testimony—found that Spacey had breached his acting and producing agreements “that set standards for his workplace conduct, including breaching MRC’s Harassment Policy.”

“Not Even a Close Case” Judge Strikes Down Spacey’s Request to Overturn Award


The arbitrator’s ruling against the actor following the conclusion of the investigation, ultimately awarded MRC $29.5 million in damages from Spacey’s sudden termination and $1.4 million in attorney fees and costs; the decision was made final in October 2020.

But Spacey, who maintains that he did not sexually assault anyone and disagrees with the factual findings, sought to have the amount vacated. In court documents, Spacey’s attorneys argued that the arbitrator exceeded the scope of his power by considering external evidence when deciding damages, writing: “However, because the arbitrator committed—namely, the damages awarded to [MRC] are not rationally related to the specific breaches found by the arbitrator—[Spacey] is entitled to an order from this court vacating the award.”

However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana did not appear to agree, as evidenced by Thursday’s ruling.

“Here, [Spacey] fails to demonstrate that this is even a close case,” Judge Recana wrote in his 14-page ruling, noting that even in a close case, the arbitrator’s award must stand. The judge also upheld the integrity of the arbitrator’s findings, writing that he was “not compelled to infer that the arbitrator’s award was not based on the breach of the parties’ agreements or that it was based on an [external] source.”

Representatives for Spacey have not yet responded to requests for comments regarding the judge’s ruling.