Netflix halts House of Cards production 'until further notice' [Update]

Update: Netflix announced on Tuesday that it is suspending production on the sixth and final season of House of Cards until further notice. 

The streaming service said the suspension "will give us time to review the current situation with our producing partners at MRC [Media Rights Capital]." 

House of Cards star and producer Kevin Spacey is currently facing sexual assault allegations. Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp said in a BuzzFeed article published on October 29 that Spacey made a sexual advance toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Spacey claims he doesn't remember the incident.

Netflix said executives are on set to discuss the suspension with cast and crew, and notes more details are forthcoming. 

The decision comes one day after Netflix announced the upcoming sixth season of House of Cards would be its last. Netflix did not offer a reason as to why the popular political drama was coming to an end, but said in a joint statement with MRC that it is "deeply disturbed" by the allegations surrounding Spacey.

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House of Cards is at last tumbling down. Today Netflix told The Hollywood Reporter that the popular political drama would end after its upcoming sixth season. No reason was given.

Officially, the decision "has been in the works since summer," but the news comes mere hours after BuzzFeed published a story alleging that House of Cards headliner and executive producer Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp in 1986 when Rapp was 14. 

Elsewhere, an anonymous source who spoke with CNN claimed the decision to end the show and the controversy surrounding Spacey were "two separate things." Nevertheless, rightly or wrongly, the internet has been busy supplying its own interpretations of the timing.

House of Cards kicked off Netflix's current focus on original content back in 2011, when the popular streaming service managed to outbid HBO for the rights. The first season went live in 2013. It's been a particularly interesting series to watch in light of the current political climate in the US, as we noted last year when we said that Season 4 was "more timely than ever."

Netflix responds

Yet other statements suggest a more complex story than Netflix's cancellation announcement. Earlier this afternoon The Hollywood Reporter also published a joint statement from Netflix and House of Cards producer Media Rights Capital saying they were "deeply disturbed" by the allegations surrounding Spacey. The statement also reported that Spacey was currently not on the set, but apparently this was "previously scheduled."

"In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported," the statement said. 

Spacey posted a response to the allegations Sunday night on Twitter, in which he also publicly announced that he is gay. Spacey claimed he did not remember the incident with Rapp.

"But if I did behave then as he describes," Spacey said, "I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years."

The timing of Spacey's announcement and its nature have both been severely criticized. 

"Coming-out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, a gay rights organization. "This isn't a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp & those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances."

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.