Sexual harassment scandals

Kevin Spacey sex scandal puts 2,000 jobs at risk

Xu Bin and Evelyn Wang Yifei got married yesterday. When Netflix suspended shooting the sixth season of House Of Cards, which stars Kevin Spacey (left, with actress Robin Wright), as many as 2,000 cast and crew members working on the set may lose the
When Netflix suspended shooting the sixth season of House Of Cards, which stars Kevin Spacey (right, with actress Robin Wright), as many as 2,000 cast and crew members working on the set may lose their jobs.PHOTO: NETFLIX

NEW YORK • In a sex scandal, there can be collateral damage.

When Netflix suspended shooting the sixth season of House Of Cards in the wake of the Kevin Spacey scandal, the move was hailed by critics of the star's alleged misdeeds. But the news also threw into question the job security of as many as 2,000 cast and crew members working on the Baltimore set of the new season of the political soap opera.

Their unknown fate highlights a thorny issue in this post-Harvey Weinstein flurry of alleged sexual offenders - what to do with the productions they are working on.

Nearly every job on a film or TV set relies on another - set decorators consult with production designers; a location manager constantly talks to a cinematographer.

At the top of that heap is the star whose clout enables it all to stay intact.

But the troubles faced by Spacey have threatened to put many out of work.

While many actors are covered under union contracts through the end of the season, a whole raft of crew members are not similarly protected.

Many had relocated from Los Angeles and New York, expecting months of work.

Whether the series - part-way through shooting its 13 episodes - could continue by killing or writing off Spacey's Frank Underwood character remains unclear.

Hollywood insiders are now raising the question of when punishing an offender gets outweighed by not creating more victims.

"The problem is that you can say, 'We shouldn't be in business with a guy like Spacey'. The problem is that that means you're also not in business with a lot of other hardworking people," said a veteran film executive.

What also differentiates Hollywood from other industries is an unusually long gestation process. Spacey and his production company have material at almost every stage of the Hollywood pipeline - from development to imminent release.

Partners in all of these projects are suddenly forced to confront what to do with a Spacey project - trash it, proceed with it or wait on it.

They have to weigh whether distancing themselves from the actor is more important than marooning the people who already spent their time working with him.

Sony Pictures is, as of now, aiming to release All The Money In The World, a Ridley Scott drama about the Getty family in which Spacey plays patriarch and oil tycoon J. Paul, as planned on Dec 22.

Spacey has completed shooting two other movies - a Gore Vidal biopic titled Gore (he plays the titular author) and the get-rich-quick drama Billionaire Boys Club, in which he stars as murdered con artist Ron Levin.

The entertainment industry is entering a new moment, one in which the rules are not only completely unknown - but have also yet to be written.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'Spacey scandal puts 2,000 jobs at risk'. Print Edition | Subscribe