Digital media delivery giant Netflix first revolutionized the market by delivering rentals directly to homes through both the mail and streaming, obviating the need for brick-and-mortar video stores. In recent years, the company has increasingly moved towards creating its own content, with a $6 billion content budget set for just 2017. Hits like Orange Is the New Black and 13 Reasons Why have gone on to win awards and generate fan interest on par with cable and pay-per-view series. However, the company revealed that one of their most popular programs will not be returning to the service with new episodes.
First airing on Netflix in 2013, House of Cards follows the political career and dark machinations of Francis “Frank” Underwood, played by Hollywood legend Kevin Spacey. With its sixth season nearing its premiere, the show has consistently drawn high numbers and received both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Fans hardly expected the sixth season to be the last, but a recent scandal involving the show’s lead actor has caused Netflix to cancel any continuation of the show beyond 2017.
Following revelations regarding the alleged sexual misconduct of former film producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein, reports from victims about an alleged epidemic of predatory behavior in Hollywood have dominated the news. Kevin Spacey joins Bill Cosby and other prominent actors as the latest figure in the film and television industry to face accusations of misconduct. The alleged incident dates back to a party in 1986, where Spacey is alleged to have harassed then-14 year old Anthony Rapp. Rapp, also an actor, is best known for his starring role on Star Trek: Discovery, the latest television adaptation of the long-running and much beloved sci-fi series first popularized in the 1960s.
Spacey responded to the accusations immediately, apologizing for the alleged incident but claiming no recollection of it. The actor also used the announcement as an opportunity to officially come out as gay. Some film critics and even GLAAD viewed Spacey’s announcement regarding his sexual orientation as an attempted distraction from the accusations of sexual misconduct, while Netflix for their part stated they we “deeply troubled” by the situation, a fact clearly confirmed by the cancellation of House of Cards. Netflix has in the past had dealings with Harvey Weinstein and his Weinstein Company, but have downplayed this connection in official statements since the film producer’s own scandal.