Taking Kevin Spacey Off Of House Of Cards May Be Really Complicated For Netflix

frank underwood glasses

Netflix's hallmark drama House of Cards is currently dealing with a situation that's dark and disturbing enough to have happened to one of the show's morally unkempt characters. Former star Kevin Spacey is currently embroiled with multiple sexual harassment/assault accusations that have basically ended his career for the time being, but Netflix might not have such an easy or cheap time booting Spacey off of the show in an official capacity, thanks to his contract reportedly not having a morality clause that would automatically prompt a suspension or termination.

Had Kevin Spacey's contract been embedded with a morality clause, that would allow for the actor to lose his job based on his personal actions outside of the show's now-halted production. Which, in this case, would include the incident where Spacey allegedly got sexual with a then-14-year-old Anthony Rapp during a party. According to The Blast, the only way that Spacey can legally get fired at this point would be if he was unavailable to film, or if he would be incapacitated in some way. And considering Spacey hasn't legally been detained by the police or anything -- he's voluntarily seeking treatment in Arizona -- he's technically able to take part in the potential sixth season, though it's not likely to happen that way.

Because there's nothing directly affecting any Frank Underwood performances, so to speak, then Netflix would legally be in the wrong for firing and/or suspending Kevin Spacey. Currently, he's being suspended according to production company MRC's sexual harassment policy while the company does an in-house investigation, but if that investigation doesn't bear damning fruit, there may not be much ground for Netflix to stand on. Which means execs would end up owing the actor a ton of money for breaking contract, and though Netflix does have oodles of money at its disposal, the company would probably rather use that money creating original content than paying Spacey off. (Plus, because Spacey isn't an employee directly with MRC, its harassment policy might not even apply to the actor, suspension-wise.)

There actually was an incident during the first season of House of Cards that involved alleged harassment from Kevin Spacey, but that situation was handled and supposedly resolved by MRC, and so it's not expected to be useful for Netflix's side of the argument. The production team reportedly sent letters to cast and crew members asking about similar incidents that occurred, and it's mentioned that Spacey's team suspects this was a move done to try and save the producers some face after being so impulsive with the initial decisions for how to handle Spacey's allegations. We're curious to see where the rest of the investigation goes.

So for now, it's very unclear what's going to actually happen with House of Cards for Season 6 and beyond, with the proposed spinoff still potentially in the running. For now, you can awkwardly stream the first five seasons on Netflix, which also has lots of other great non-Spacey programming already there, with more on the way. Hit up our 2017 Netflix schedule to see what's coming, along with our fall TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.