Let’s be Frank: Spacey Should Leave House of Cards

Image: Marcos Gasparutti (flickr)

There was bad news for House of Cards fans last Monday when Netflix announced it was going to cancel the political thriller at the end of season 6, which was due in 2018. Production has currently been suspended, and it seems unclear as to when it will resume. This came as a response to an allegation that the show’s lead actor Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy, Antony Rapp in 1986, although Netflix says that the decision was taken before the news emerged.

On their Twitter account Netflix posted “Production on the final season of House of Cards is suspended until further notice. This will give us time to review the current situation with our producing partners. Execs are on set this week discussing with our cast and crew. More details to come”.

However, on Friday (3rd November), Netflix further announced that it “will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey”, thereby dropping him from the show. This follows further accusations from some House of Cards employees. The American news site CNN reported that 8 people who worked on the show told them that the presence of Spacey made for a ‘toxic’ work environment, as he behaved in a “predatory manner” on set. This implies that season filming will eventually continue and it will air as planned, although as of yet they have not announced when.

Spacey made for a ‘toxic’ work environment, as he behaved in a “predatory manner” on set. 

Frank was last seen at the end of season 5 resigning from his presidency, so it seems like a natural step to carry on without him and have his character written out. Furthermore, in the book which inspired the series the character of Frank dies. If he was written out in this way it would certainly make the series more faithful to its source material, although it may not tie up any loose ends about Frank that were left at the end of Season 5.

The announcement raises questions as to who could replace him as the shows lead. Social media seemed to suggest that Claire (Frank’s wife) becoming the main protagonist is a popular option amongst fans. This seems to be a good idea, given her rise to the president’s office at the end of season 5. Whoever replaces him, at least fans will be able to say a proper goodbye to the show which was one of Netflix’s first original dramas.

In the book which inspired the series the character of Frank dies. If he written out in this way it would certainly make the series more faithful to its source material

This news follows the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal which engulfed Hollywood last month after he was accused of sexually assaulting over 70 women during his career. This has encouraged more women to come forward and share their stories of sexual assault and harassment involving some of Hollywood’s high-profile stars.

Netflix are surely taking the right step in halting production and removing Spacey from the series, showing that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in the industry. Hopefully this sets the precedent for other shows which may be affected by actors who have behaved unacceptably.

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