AP

Nov,01 2017 12:59 47 IST

Hollywood’s widening sexual harassment crisis brought forth a second actor’s allegation against Kevin Spacey on 31 October, halted production on his Netflix series House of Cards and prompted CBS to check into an actress’ claim she was groped by Jeremy Piven.

Kevin Spacey/ Image from Twitter/@PeterTatchell

Kevin Spacey/ Image from Twitter/@PeterTatchell

Mexican actor Robert Cavazos wrote on his Facebook page that he encountered Spacey at the bar of London’s Old Vic Theatre, where Spacey was artistic director, and the actor tried to fondle him against his will.

“It was more common for this guy, when he was in the bar of his theater, grabbing whoever caught his attention,” Cavazos wrote. “I didn’t stand for it, but I know some people who were afraid to stop it.”

Cavazos declined an interview request. There was no immediate reply to a request for comment from representatives for Spacey, who was artistic director from 2004-15.

In a statement, the theater expressed “deep dismay” at the allegations and said “inappropriate behavior by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable.”

Netflix announced on 31 October 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 on 31 October, 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, 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.”

“It did not happen. It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward with their histories, and my hope is that the allegations about me that didn’t happen, do not detract from stories that should be heard,” he said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Piven said he was glad people had come forward with allegations against Harvey Weinstein and that he had never been in that situation.

“Everyone at HBO and our productions is aware that zero tolerance for sexual harassment is our policy. Anyone experiencing an unsafe working environment has several avenues for making complaints that we take very seriously,” the channel said.

Netflix’s actions involving “House of Cards” are rare in an industry that puts commerce first.

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 Tuesday 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. The group says “it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award,” which is to honor “an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch humanity.” Spacey was to get it at a gala on 20 Nov in New York City. Past recipients include Rhimes, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams.

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.


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