New allegations leveled against actors Spacey, Piven
LOS ANGELES - AP
'House of Cards'
Hollywood's widening sexual harassment crisis brought forth a second actor's allegation against Kevin Spacey on Oct. 31, halted production on his Netflix series "House of Cards" and prompted CBS to check into an actress' claim she was groped by Jeremy Piven.
Mexican actor Robert Cavazos wrote on his Facebook page that he encountered Spacey at the bar of London's Old Vic Theater, where Spacey was artistic director, and the actor tried to fondle him against his will.
In a statement on Oct. 31, the theater expressed "deep dismay" at the allegations and said "inappropriate behavior by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable."
In recent days, Hollywood has reacted swiftly to allegations of sexual harassment and assault: Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company he founded within days after initial reports of sexual harassment were published in The New York Times earlier this month.
Dozens of women, including actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams, have alleged that writer and director James Toback sexually harassed or assaulted them.
On Oct. 30, Netflix said it would end "House of Cards" after its upcoming sixth and final season, although the streaming network said the decision was made before the BuzzFeed News report on Spacey last weekend. The network has not commented on plans for a Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey that is currently in production.
The pause in production shadows the fate of the last season.
Also, CBS said it is "looking into" a claim by actress and reality star Ariane Bellamar that Emmy-winning "Entourage" star Piven groped her on two occasions.
On her Twitter account Oct. 30, Bellamar alleged that one encounter took place in Piven's trailer on HBO's "Entourage" set and the other occurred at the Playboy Mansion.
Piven, who stars in the new CBS series "Wisdom of the Crowd," said in a statement that he "unequivocally" denies the "appalling allegations being peddled about me."
HBO, which aired the 2004-11 series, said in a statement that it was unaware of Bellamar's allegations until they were reported by media.
Netflix's actions involving "House of Cards" are rare in an industry that puts commerce first.
Shows are infrequently derailed by concerns other than their ratings performance, said TV historian and former network executive Tim Brooks.
"It usually depends on how popular the show is, not to put too fine a point on it," Brooks said.
Netflix and "House of Cards" producer Media Rights Capital had already decided to end the series at the end of next season, its sixth, but on Oct. 31 they chose to pause the production, which is filmed in Baltimore, "to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew." Spacey was not scheduled to work that day.
The move comes after actor Anthony Rapp came forward with claims Spacey made inappropriate sexual advances toward him in 1986, when he was 14.
Spacey responded 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."
He also spoke publicly for the first time about being gay, which draw backlash from some observers as an attempt at deflection.
The fallout for Spacey also included the loss of an award he was going to get later this month by The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
A release date for the final "House of Cards" episodes has yet to be announced. Netflix is developing a possible spinoff of the award-winning drama that helped put the streaming service on the TV series map.