Kevin Spacey made the set of Netflix’s “House of Cards” into a “toxic” work environment through a pattern of sexual harassment, eight people who currently work on the show or worked on it in the past tell CNN. One former employee told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him.
The former production assistant, whose account has never previously been disclosed, told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him during one of the show’s early seasons. All eight people, each of whom spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions for speaking out, described Spacey’s behavior as “predatory,” saying it included nonconsensual touching and crude comments and targeted production staffers who were typically young and male.
The new accusations follow an explosive article published less than a week ago by BuzzFeed News, in which actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey made sexual advances toward him in 1985, when Rapp was 14 years old.
On Monday, Spacey released an apology in response to Rapp’s account. “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.”
Spacey’s publicist said in a statement on Wednesday that the actor is seeking unspecified treatment following Rapp’s allegations.
On Thursday, that publicist — Staci Wolf — said she and Creative Artists Agency were parting ways with the actor.
Production of Season 6 of the series was shut down this week. Netflix and the production company Media Rights Capital issued a joint statement Tuesday to say that they are reviewing the “situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.” Spacey is also one of the show’s executive producers.
The former production assistant who spoke with CNN said Spacey sexually assaulted 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.
The production assistant did not report the incident to any managers of the series or the police, but he did tell a coworker at the time. CNN has spoken to the coworker to corroborate the production assistant’s story.
The alleged sexual assault came months after the production assistant had, he told CNN, complained to a supervisor that Spacey was sexually harassing him. The supervisor’s solution was to never let the production assistant be alone with Spacey while they were on set, the production assistant says.
The assistant said the harassment then stopped for long enough for him to feel comfortable driving with Spacey to the set.
“I have no doubt that this type of predatory behavior was routine for him and that my experience was one of many and that Kevin had few if any qualms about exploiting his status and position,” he said. “It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors.”
The other people who worked on “House of Cards” with whom CNN spoke all supported the idea that the set could be toxic for young men because of Spacey.
A crew member who worked on the show for all six seasons said that Spacey routinely 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.”
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SOURCE: CNN, Chloe Melas