‘House of Cards’ Sent Sexual Harassment Memo Weeks Before Kevin Spacey Misconduct Allegations

“A safe working environment is a top priority” Netflix show’s production company tells TheWrap

Last Updated: November 10, 2017 @ 4:47 PM

The makers of “House of Cards” took steps to prevent sexual harassment weeks ago — before multiple sexual misconduct allegations involving star Kevin Spacey surfaced.

Production company Media Rights Capital sent a memo to the Netflix show’s staff on Oct. 13, requiring them to take an online course on sexual harassment called “Risky Business.”

This occured weeks before actor Spacey was accused of making unwanted sexual advances on actor Anthony Rapp when he was 14 years old, and before two more men came forward with accusations of sexual harassment.

“With this issue being front and center in the news right now, this couldn’t come at a better time,” said the memo, obtained by Page Six and corroborated to TheWrap by an individual close to the situation. “We feel it is important for everyone in the workplace to understand and live these principals [sic].”

The memo was sent out two weeks before production was shut down indefinitely.

“Dear Staff, Welcome to Season 6 of ‘House of Cards'; on behalf of everyone at MRC, we are excited to be embarking on another exciting season! . . . We are committed to a Harassment-Free Workplace and a comfortable work environment for all of our employees,” read the memo, which went out a few days after the New York Times published an extensive piece on the sexual misconduct allegations made by several actresses against producer Harvey Weinstein.

“At the top of each production year, we have forwarded our ‘Harassment-Free Workplace Policy and Procedure’ as part of all staff’s employment package,” the memo added. But for Season 6, “we decided to take it a step further and worked to create a program entitled ‘Risky Business’ . . . a [one-hour program] designed to help our personnel navigate any difficult issues that may arise. It will also give you the tools to handle and/or avoid any ‘risky situations.'”

The memo was sent to the Netflix show’s staff by MRC’s head of TV business and legal affairs, according to Page Six and TheWrap’s source, and required employees to complete the course within a few weeks.

“A safe working environment is a top priority for MRC, as it always has been,” an MRC spokesperson told TheWrap in response to questions about the memo.

One day after Spacey apologized to Rapp, while at the same time coming out as gay, the show announced it would wrap after its upcoming sixth season. Following that announcement, production was shut down indefinitely. One day later, On Wednesday, Spacey’s rep announced that the actor was seeking “evaluation and treatment.”

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