On Monday, Netflix said it would end “House of Cards” after its upcoming sixth and final season, although the streaming network said the decision was made before the BuzzFeed News report on Spacey last weekend. The network has not commented on plans for a Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey that is currently in production.
The pause in production Tuesday shadows the fate of the last season.
Also Tuesday, CBS said it is “looking into” a claim by actress and reality star Ariane Bellamar that Emmy-winning “Entourage” star Piven groped her on two occasions.
On her Twitter account Monday, Bellamar alleged that one encounter took place in Piven’s trailer on HBO’s “Entourage” set and the other occurred at the Playboy Mansion.
Piven, who stars in the new CBS series “Wisdom of the Crowd,” said in a statement that he “unequivocally” denies the “appalling allegations being peddled about me.”
“It did not happen. It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward with their histories, and my hope is that the allegations about me that didn’t happen, do not detract from stories that should be heard,” he said.
In a Monday interview with The Associated Press, Piven said he was glad people had come forward with allegations against Harvey Weinstein and that he had never been in that situation.
HBO, which aired the 2004-11 series, said in a statement that it was unaware of Bellamar’s allegations until they were reported by media.
“Everyone at HBO and our productions is aware that zero tolerance for sexual harassment is our policy. Anyone experiencing an unsafe working environment has several avenues for making complaints that we take very seriously,” the channel said.
Bellamar’s credits include “Suicide Squad” and “The Hangover Part III” and the reality series “Beverly Hills Nannies.”
Netflix’s actions involving “House of Cards” are rare in an industry that puts commerce first.
Shows are infrequently derailed by concerns other than their ratings performance, said TV historian and former network executive Tim Brooks.
The widespread tumult has prompted unusual actions, such as Weinstein being booted from industry organizations, and created a climate of uncertainty. But a look back shows that Hollywood has dealt with disruption before, with even beloved shows and actors fighting to keep their balance amid controversy.
How Spacey’s cast mates are reacting to the allegations remains to be seen. Robin Wright, who stars opposite Spacey as his wife, hasn’t commented publicly, but her Twitter feed includes a number of posts backing social issues including female rights and education.
Netflix and “House of Cards” producer Media Rights Capital had already decided to end the series at the end of next season, its sixth, but on Tuesday they chose to pause the production, which is filmed in Baltimore, “to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.” Spacey was not scheduled to work that day.
The move comes after actor Anthony Rapp came forward with claims Spacey made inappropriate sexual advances toward him in 1986, when he was 14.
Spacey responded by saying he doesn’t remember the alleged encounter but if he acted the way Rapp alleges, “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” He also spoke publicly for the first time about being gay, which draw backlash from some observers as an attempt at deflection.
The fallout for Spacey also included the loss of an award he was going to get later this month by The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The group says “it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award,” which is to honor “an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch humanity.” Spacey was to get it at a gala on Nov. 20 in New York City. Past recipients include Rhimes, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams.
A release date for the final “House of Cards” episodes has yet to be announced. Netflix is developing a possible spinoff of the award-winning drama that helped put the streaming service on the TV series map. (AP)