Netflix has announced that they will be ending their flagship television series, “House of Cards,” at the conclusion of its sixth season, just a day after allegations were raised that its lead star, Kevin Spacey, sexually harassed a teenage boy 30 years ago.
The final episodes of the political drama, starring Spacey and Robin Wright as ruthless political operators in the United States government, will air in 2018.
Actor Anthony Rapp, star of “Dazed and Confused” and “Rent”, had accused Spacey of sexually harassing him when he was 14 years old.
The 58-year-old double Oscar winner had allegedly tried to seduce Rapp by laying down on top of him at a party in his apartment in New York in 1986.
Spacey, in response, admitted that he was gay for the first time in an apology to Rapp and said that he could not remember the alleged incident. He also said he was "horrified" by the story.
Several sources, however, claimed that the decision to end the award-winning Netflix drama was made prior to Rapp's claim about Spacey, but the announcement nevertheless has raised eyebrows for its timing.
A Netflix spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: “Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey."
“House of Cards” was the first original drama from the streaming giant, and changed the face of on-demand television with its high production values and Oscar-winning cast. It is an adaptation of the Nineties British political drama of the same name, placed in Washington DC, rather than Westminster, and follows the Machiavellian antics of Frank Underwood, played by Spacey, in his deadly climb to the Oval Office.
On Monday, the creator of the Netflix series released a statement in support of Rapp, saying: "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 behaviour on set or off. That said, I take reports of such behaviour seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr Rapp and I support his courage."
Meanwhile, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has withdrawn a planned award for Spacey after the historical harassment allegations. Spacey was due to be awarded with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award in New York in November.
The Rapp revelations have sparked a raft of claims from industry insiders about Spacey’s behaviour.
However, two weeks before the “Star Trek: Discovery” star spoke out, news anchor Heather Unruh had alleged that a person close to her was assaulted by Spacey.
“The #weinsteinscandal has emboldened me … I was a Kevin Spacey fan until he assaulted a loved one. Time the dominoes fell," she tweeted on October 13.
She later told the Boston Globe that the incident had occurred last summer at a well-known restaurant, but did not name it. Unruh said Spacey walked in very late and sat beside a man.
Then he did something beneath the table that was “completely unexpected, completely inappropriate,” she alleged.
The Sun in another report, quoting sources, said that “The Usual Suspects” star had made an advance on a straight writer in a bathroom at the 2013 Edinburgh TV Festival, who pushed the actor away and left hurriedly.
“House of Cards” is the first of Spacey's projects currently in production to be cancelled following the accusation. He is starring the high-profile Oscar hopeful “All the Money in the World,” co-starring Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams and directed by Ridley Scott, and the recent crime drama “Billionaire Boys Club.”