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Kevin Spacey sexual assault case dropped: Still Netflix, Hollywood producers lost millions

Shelley Ng

Prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped their case against actor Kevin Spacey, who was accused of groping a young man at a Nantucket bar in 2016. Even so, Netflix and Hollywood producers employing the actor lost millions.

The decision, announced Wednesday, came after the accuser refused to testify about a missing cellphone that the defense said contained information that supports the actor's claims of innocence.

Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said in court documents that they were dropping the charge "due to an unavailability of the complaining witness."

Spacey had been charged with indecent assault and battery last year in the only criminal case that has been brought against him amid a slew of sexual misconduct allegations, including from "Star Trek: Discovery" actor Anthony Rapp, who said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

Amid the spate of sexual misconduct allegations, streaming giant Netflix dropped Spacey from its sixth and final season of its hit series "House of Cards" in November 2017.

Spacey starred as the series' main character Frank Underwood -- a ruthless politician that rises from being a South Carolina congressman to the president of the United States. The final season pivoted to focus on co-star Robin Wright's character Claire Underwood ascending to become the first female U.S. president.

The move to drop Spacey cost Netflix $39 million, according to its fourth-quarter earnings report that was released January 2018.

The company said then that the financial cost was related to “unreleased content we’ve decided not to move forward with.”

Aside from "House of Cards," Netflix had been linked other projects involving Spacey, including a film about late author Gore Vidal.

Spacey -- whose net worth was reported to be $100 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com, and who made $12 million in 2017 according to a Forbes list released months before the Massachusetts allegations came to light -- was estimated to have lost $6.5 million in future earnings, Forbes said.

After being dropped from Netflix, director Ridley Scott replaced Spacey from the Sony picture "All the Money in the World," which was set for release the following month on December 22. The movie was a crime drama about the 1973 kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and his mother's attempt to convince his billionaire grandfather, oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty, to pay the ransom.

Spacey played the elder Getty and review of the final film was underway at the time. But in wake of the sexual assault allegations surrounding Spacey, Scott recast the role with actor Christopher Plummer.

The director's unprecedented decision to reshoot nearly 400 scenes over nine days in Italy and the United Kingdom cost $10 million on top of the film's $40 million budget, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film's financing partner Imperative Entertainment footed the unexpected bill.

"I jumped into it immediately saying, 'I can fix this. We're going to have to recast, make sure everyone was available and the locations were available so I could go back as soon as possible and pick up every shot that [Spacey] was in," Scott told the outlet.

The film ended up grossing just $25.1 million domestically and $39.4 million cumulatively worldwide, according to IMDB.com

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A year later, in December 2018, Spacey seemed to channel his "House of Cards" character of Frank Underwood in a bizarre 3-minute YouTube video called "Let Me Be Frank."

In it, he seemed to address the sexual allegations against him and asserted, "I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn't do."

"Despite all the poppycock, the animosity, the headlines the impeachment without a trial, despite everything, despite even my own death, I feel surprisingly good and my confidence grows each day that soon enough you will know the full truth," he said in the video.

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