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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

House of Cards axed by Netflix as #Metoo fallout continues for Kevin Spacey

Spacey is the latest high profile figure man to be named in widening allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in entertainment, media and other industries

While much of the sexual harassment scandal has focused on top Hollywood names such as Weinstein and Spacey, a broader discussion of treatment of women has emerged. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
While much of the sexual harassment scandal has focused on top Hollywood names such as Weinstein and Spacey, a broader discussion of treatment of women has emerged. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Netflix are pulling the plug on actor Kevin Spacey's hit show House of Cards following an accusation that he allegedly made sexual advances on a 14-year-old.

Spacey is the latest Hollywood man to be named in widening allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in entertainment, media and other industries.

Executives from Netflix and the show said they arrived in Baltimore, where the show is shot, on Monday afternoon to make sure actors and crew "continue to feel safe and supported."

Spacey was not scheduled to be on set.

Though the decision to end the series was announced on Monday, the decision to end the series was made several months ago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the decision.

The avalanche of allegations began earlier this month after the New York Times published a story alleging that producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed numerous women.

On Monday, NBC fired political journalist Mark Halperin after multiple allegations of sexual harassment, and The New Republic said it had launched an investigation after publisher and president Hamilton Fish was accused of harassing women.

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The New York Times on Monday also published new allegations against Weinstein, including the account of a woman who said Weinstein of raping her in the late 1970s and a dancer's account of Weinstein misconduct in 2004 that led to a $100,000 settlement. Weinstein's representative Sallie Hofmeister has said the Oscar winner denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

The Producers Guild of America also announced it had instituted a lifetime ban on Weinstein from holding membership in the organisation. The move came after Weinstein, 65, resigned his membership, the group said.

"This unprecedented step is a reflection of the seriousness with which the Guild regards the numerous reports of Mr. Weinstein's decades of reprehensible conduct," the guild said in a statement.

"Sexual harassment can no longer be tolerated in our industry or within the ranks of producers guild membership. "

Actor Anthony Rapp has alleged that he was attending a party at Spacey's apartment in 1986 when an inebriated 26-year-old Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him. Rapp, then 14, was able to get away without any physical harm.

Spacey responded on Twitter 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."

Spacey then said Rapp's story "encouraged" him to address long-simmering rumours about his sexuality. He wrote that he's had romantic relationships with both men and women in the past but is now living "as a gay man" and wanted to be honest so he could examine "my own behaviour."

Requests for comment went unanswered Monday.

Former House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, who also serves as the president of the Writers Guild of America, East, called Rapp's story "deeply troubling."

In a statement, Willmon said: "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. That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage."

While much of the sexual harassment scandal has focused on top Hollywood names such as Weinstein and Spacey, a broader discussion of treatment of women has emerged.

In the UK, the conduct of politicians has come under scrutiny, with some high-ranking individuals being named and a redacted dossier of 36 male Members of Parliament who have been identified the cause of sexual misconduct allegations. All 36 belong to the party in power, the Conservatives.

On Sunday, Theresa May called for an inquiry.