At least eight current and former “House of Cards” employees have accused Kevin Spacey of turning the set of Netflix show into a “toxic” work environment through a pattern of sexual harassment, reports CNN. They described Spacey’s behavior as “predatory,” saying it included “nonconsensual touching and crude comments and targeted production staffers who were typically young and male.”
One former production assistant told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him during one of the show’s early seasons.
The new accusations follow an article published last week by BuzzFeed News, in which actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey made sexual advances toward him in 1985, when Rapp was 14 years old and Spacey was 26.
On Monday, Spacey apologized to Rapp.
“I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago,” Spacey said. “But if I did behave then 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.”
Production of Season 6 was shut down this week in response to the allegations.
The former production assistant who spoke to CNN, accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him one afternoon when the assistant was assigned to drive to an offsite location to pick up Spacey and bring him to the “House of Cards” set, which is located about 30 miles outside of Baltimore.
The production assistant says that when he and Spacey were just minutes away from the set and while the car was moving, Spacey, who was driving, put his hands down the production assistant’s pants. The production assistant told CNN that the touching was nonconsensual.
“I was in a state of shock,” he said. “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 asked that what happened next in the car not be described, for fear that it would identify him.
Once they had arrived on set, the production assistant says he helped the actor take his belongings from the car to Spacey’s trailer on set. While the two men were in the trailer, the production assistant says, Spacey cornered him, blocked his exit and made inappropriate contact with him.
“I told him, ‘I don’t think I’m ok with this, I don’t think I’m comfortable with this,'” the production assistant said. That’s when the actor became “visibly flustered,” fled the trailer, got in his car and left for the remainder of the day, according to the production assistant.
Another crew member, who worked on the show for all six seasons, told CNN that Spacey repeatedly harassed and touched him.
“He would put his hands on me in weird ways,” the crew member said. “He would come in and massage my shoulders from behind or put his hands around me or touch my stomach sometimes in weird ways that in normal everyday conversation would not be appropriate.”
This crew member said he didn’t “feel comfortable” telling Spacey to stop.
“That’s the worst part about this whole thing. I would love to be able to speak out about this kind of stuff and not fear.”
When asked by CNN on Thursday about the new allegations, Netflix issued the following statement:
“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. 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.”
MRC, the production company behind “House of Cards,” released this statement:
“We are deeply troubled to learn about these new allegations that are being made to the press concerning Kevin Spacey’s interaction with members of the crew of House of Cards. As the producer of the show, creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our cast and crew has always been our top priority. We have consistently reinforced the importance of employees reporting any incident without fear of retaliation and we have investigated and taken appropriate actions following any complaints. For example, during our first year of production in 2012, someone on the crew shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey. Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey.”