LOS ANGELES — Kevin Spacey must pay the “House of Cards” production company roughly $9.75 million in a landmark sexual harassment case.
A jury in Los Angeles awarded roughly $2.86 million in punitive damages, plus $6.75 million in compensatory damages, according to a ruling released Thursday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Debre Katz Weintraub.
The decision clears the way for an appeal by Spacey, who has been accused of sexual assault by more than 30 men. It also marks a significant financial burden for Media Rights Capital, which had been trying to protect itself from a threatened shutdown of the Spacey-driven program.
“This is a just verdict and a fair result,” said Becki Davis, an attorney for the plaintiff, Freddy Shepherd. “We’re really looking forward to getting the judgment on the punitive damages. We’re obviously very happy with the jury. We feel we did everything right.”
In the case, Shepherd claimed that Spacey sexually assaulted him in a private bedroom of his apartment on Oct. 30, 2008. Spacey claimed he did not recall the alleged assault, but apologized for what he characterized as the “deepest apologies” he could make.
He also hired a psychologist to testify that he had “an underlying clinical issue, an intense attraction to young boys” that resulted in the alleged assault.
The jury heard evidence in the case during a weeklong trial in July. Media Rights Capital lawyer Marty Singer had tried to have the case thrown out.
The show was canceled when Spacey was accused of sexual assault and harassment by several men last year. Netflix then said it would not renew the show for a sixth season.
Singer said in a statement Thursday that the judge has made no findings of wrongdoing by the company, and said the punitive damages will cause damage to the entertainment industry that “can never be undone.”
“Media Rights Capital will appeal this decision in the strongest possible terms,” Singer said. “It is not only legally wrong, but a gross miscarriage of justice.”