EXCLUSIVE: “I feel awful for the people who were wronged while working for House of Cards,” series creator and former showrunner Beau Willimon said tonight as more allegations emerged of inappropriate behavior by star Kevin Spacey. “The production did not inform me of the incident that occurred in Season One regarding Kevin Spacey or of any action taken as a result,” Willimon added to Deadline, about how it could be that he was not aware of a 2012 occurrence with Spacey that producers Media Rights Capital confirm required an investigation.
The now-WGA East president’s response comes as MRC and Netflix detailed Thursday that at least one incident with Spacey was raised by a crew member on the political drama and was looked into early in the show’s production. Production on Season 6 of the Emmy-nominated HoC is now on indefinite suspension.
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In fact, as Spacey seeks “evaluation and treatment,” according to his former publicist, the series looks to be over for good following October 29 claims by Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp of sexual advances he says Spacey made in 1986 when Rapp was 14 years old.
Reacting to claims uncovered by CNN on Thursday from several HoC crew members, MRC revealed that a 2012 “complaint about a specific remark and gesture” by the Oscar-winning Spacey was reviewed at the time. The matter was “resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved,” and Spacey “willingly participated in a training process.” Netflix also revealed that it was “just made aware” of the five-year-old incident.
“I am heartsick that anyone on the crew had to endure this sort of behavior,” Willimon asserted tonight after that information was made public. “Clearly we as an industry, particularly those in a position of power, myself included, need to be more perceptive and proactive,” the union boss noted. “We also need to do a better job at empowering and supporting our colleagues who come forward.”
While it seems odd that the showrunner would not be aware of such an incident at the time or soon after, sources close to the series tell Deadline that Willimon was mainly focused on writing scripts for most of Season 1 of the series executive produced by Spacey, David Fincher, Eric Roth and Dana Brunetti. One insider says Willimon was not deeply involved in on-set production as the more established personalities dominated that first year. Two individuals with knowledge of the situation also noted that MRC was fairly tight with information on the show and, remarkably, could conceivably not have have passed such a complaint along to Willimon
On October 30, Willimon called Rapp’s claims “deeply troubling” and said on social media that “during the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off.”
Playwright and screenwriter Willimon exited House of Cards in early 2016 just before the fourth-season launched on Netflix. Elected unopposed to a two-year term as WGA East president in September, the scribe is currently working on the The First, a series about the first human mission to Mars. Created by Willimon and starring Sean Penn, the drama snagged a straight-to-series pickup from Hulu and the UK’s Channel 4.
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