Eight people who claim to have worked on Netflix drama House of Cards have come forward in light of allegations made against the show’s star Kevin Spacey, describing his behaviour as “predatory”.
The staffers – who say they either currently work on the show or have worked on it in the past – told CNN the workplace environment became “toxic” due to alleged harassment on set.
CNN claims to have spoken to each of the workers, who reportedly said Spacey’s inappropriate behaviour included “nonconsensual touching and crude comments and targeted production staffers who were typically young and male”.
One former production assistant reportedly said that Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted him during one of the show’s earlier seasons.
He alleged he was assigned to pick up Spacey and transport him to the show’s set. He claimed that while Spacey was driving, the actor put his hands down the assistant’s pants – an action which was allegedly non-consensual.
“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.”
CNN says they have spoken with a co-worker the assistant told about the incident at the time, who supported the story.
It is alleged the assault happened months after a complaint was made by the production assistant to a supervisor that Mr Spacey had been sexually harassing him.
It is further alleged the solution to this was to never let the assistant be alone with Spacey at work.
“It was a toxic environment for young men who had to interact with him at all in the crew, cast, background actors,” the assistant claimed.
CNN reports the other people they interviewed who had worked on House of Cards supported this claim.
Another crew member who worked on all six seasons of House of Cards claimed Spacey “routinely harassed and touched him”.
“That’s the worst part about this whole thing. I would love to be able to speak out about this kind of stuff and not fear,” he said.
Spacey has not commented on the allegations made to CNN. SBS News has requested a response from Spacey.
His spokeswoman said on Friday that the actor is seeking “evaluation and treatment”. No details on the type of treatment were provided.
What sparked others to come forward?
Earlier this week Spacey issued an apology after actor Anthony Rapp claimed he had made sexual advances towards him in 1985. Rapp was 14 at the time.
Spacey said he did not recall the encounter “but if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Following the allegation made by Mr Rapp, Netflix announced it had suspended production of the final season of House of Cards.
Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital said in a joint statement it had “decided to suspend production on House of Cards season six, until further notice”.
“[It will] give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.”
Mr Spacey is an executive producer on the show and also plays the leading role of Francis Underwood.
His co-star Robin Wright is yet to comment publicly on the matter.
The Old Vic accused of ‘pleading ignorance’
Following Rapp’s allegation, workers at The Old Vic theatre in London where Spacey worked as an artistic director from 2003 to 2015, told The Guardian that the theatre ignored complaints of groping and inappropriate sexual behaviour.
“We were all involved in keeping it quiet. I witnessed him groping men many times in all sorts of different situations,” one said, on condition of anonymity.
It’s alleged the Oscar winner “was taking advantage of the fact that he is this great icon”.
Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos then accused Spacey of sexual harassment, saying he fended off two “unpleasant” advances that “bordered on harassment” while at The Old Vic.
Film-maker Tony Montana also alleged Spacey grabbed his crotch in a Los Angeles bar in 2003.
Rebecca Gooden, an intern at the theatre in 2010, said there were regular stories about Spacey’s behaviour.
She told The Guardian it was a “running joke” that “pretty” young men were not hired to work in theatre administration.
“I was informed that I was not allowed to talk about it outside the theatre. I am honestly sickened that the theatre has chosen to plead ignorance,” she said.
The Old Vic said it was “not currently in a position to comment on specifics of what may have taken place in the past”.
The theatre said it had set up an email address where “anyone who has concerns about the inappropriate behaviour of Spacey at the venue could come forward.
British barman Daniel Beal has also seperatly accused Spacey of exposing himself in front of him and then giving him an expensive watch to keep quiet, according to The Sun newspaper.
Spacey has not commented to The Guardian or The Sun on these allegations.
– With AFP