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Netflix says 'House of Cards' will end after sixth season, addresses Kevin Spacey allegations

Netflix announced Monday that it is ending “House of Cards,” the political drama filmed in Maryland, after its upcoming sixth season.

The news came a day after sexual misconduct allegations were made against Kevin Spacey, who stars in the show as Frank Underwood. The decision to end the popular series was not related to the allegations, a Netflix spokesperson said.

Netflix and Media Rights Capital released a joint statement to The Baltimore Sun on Monday afternoon saying they were “deeply troubled” by the allegations and that executives from both companies “arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported.”

“As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time,” they wrote.

Actor Anthony Rapp has accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was 14 years old. In a statement posted on Twitter, “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon said he had not been aware of any misconduct from Spacey while working on “House of Cards.”

Spacey said in a statement Sunday that he was “beyond horrified” by the allegations. He said he did not remember the encounter with Rapp, “but if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”

The Maryland Film Office and executive director Jack Gerbes did not respond to requests from The Baltimore Sun. Neither did the Maryland Department of Commerce.

“House of Cards” recently began filming its sixth season in the Baltimore area. The show, which stars Spacey and Robin Wright as a ruthless political couple who scheme their way into the White House, has filmed at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Baltimore Sun, among other locations. Many scenes were filmed at sound stages in Harford County.

The groundbreaking series ushered in an era of original streaming programming on a mass scale and was honored with seven Emmys and two Golden Globe awards.

“House of Cards” has been the primary recipient of Maryland's film tax credit, reaping $53.1 million of the $66.5 million in taxpayer dollars spent on the promotional program since it was approved in 2011, according to a state report.

Although some analysts and lawmakers questioned the public benefit of subsidizing the film industry, supporters of the show successfully lobbied the General Assembly to pass annual increases to the tax credit program that benefited the first five seasons of “House of Cards.”

Cindy A. Mumby, a spokeswoman for the Harford County government, said the show, which has shot in more than 25 locations around the county, has had a positive economic impact.

A 2016 report from the Maryland Department of Commerce found that “House of Cards” pumped more than $577 million into the state economy over five seasons, renting or buying goods from 2,000 or more local businesses each season. The show also hired more than 2,000 people, including crew, actors and extras every season.

“We’ve demonstrated that Harford County is a good location for series production, and we’ll be looking to pursue other opportunities to have other companies and productions here in the future,” Mumby said.

Economist Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Policy Group Inc. said the show, along with the HBO comedy “Veep,” which filmed four seasons locally, “gave Maryland some street credibility.”

“When people look at a show as successful as ‘House of Cards,’ or even ‘Veep,’ and say that’s being worked on by people from Baltimore, that’s … caused people to take notice of the abundance of creative talent in Baltimore,” he said.

While TV shows come and go, the city has a strong and permanent “creative class” that should help attract more directors and producers, Basu said.

“The key for the state is to work hard to find more producers and directors willing to bring productions to Baltimore and use our abundant pool of talent,” which in turn should help attract and retain workers and help the state diversify its economy, he said.

Gregory Pizzuto, the executive director of Harford County’s tourism promotion group, said he was not completely surprised the show was coming to an end.

“Obviously, we were very happy to be able to host [‘House of Cards’] and they were great partners while they were here, and I'm sure they will be for this last season,” he said.

Six seasons, he said, was a nice run.

“But as all shows go, they have a life, and as a fan who watched,” he said, “it was beginning to be something that seemed like it was coming to the end of its run anyway.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Lorraine Mirabella and Erin Cox contributed to this report.

bbritto@baltsun.com

twitter.com/brittanybritto

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