Netflix has decided to stop production on the upcoming sixth season of House of Cards in light of the recent sexual abuse allegations actor Anthony Rapp made against series star Kevin Spacey. Deadline reports that the streaming service, and its production partner Media Rights Capital, informed the cast and crew this morning in Maryland, where production had already begun.
“MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on House of Cards season six, until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew,” the companies said in a statement.
On Sunday, October 29th, BuzzFeed News published an interview with Rapp, who alleged that Spacey had made an unwanted sexual advance on Rapp at a party when the younger actor was only 14. Spacey responded that night on Twitter, claiming he had no recollection of the incident, while still apologizing for what he characterized as “inappropriate drunken behavior.” However, Spacey also took the opportunity to come out as gay, in what seemed to be an ugly attempt to deflect attention from Rapp’s accusations, while also reinforcing dangerous stereotypes that conflate pedophilia with being gay.
The following morning, news broke that House of Cards’ sixth season would be its last, though that decision had reportedly been made well in advance of these allegations. In fact, Variety has since reported that Netflix has been looking at possible spinoff ideas, with one premise potentially following Doug Stamper, Frank Underwood’s right-hand man.
But that kind of approach would only be viable if House of Cards were still a world audiences were interested in visiting. In the wake of the numerous allegations made against producer Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood is in the midst of a crisis, finally acknowledging decades of sexual misconduct across all facets of the business in a way it never truly has before. While neither Netflix nor Media Rights Capital have said that the sixth season of the show is being called off for good, halting production is a sign that the future of the season — and any related projects — is in serious jeopardy.