House of Cards star Robin Wright is speaking out for the first time about former co-star Kevin Spacey, who was kicked off the hit show amid allegations of sexual assault. Wright opened up in an interview with Savannah Guthrie of the TODAY show. Wright says she has not spoken with Spacey, and does not even know how to contact him. When the sexual harassment accusations first came out against Spacey, Wright says the House of Cards team was surprised and saddened, but were determined to continue on. She also commented that Spacey had always been respectful of her personally.
But she also admitted that she never really knew Spacey well. Wright says they were co-workers, not close friends.
“Kevin and I knew each other between action and cut. And in between set-ups, where we would giggle. I didn’t really, I didn’t know the man. I knew the incredible craftsman that he is.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Kevin Spacey Has Remained Quiet Amid More Allegations of Sexual Assault
Spacey first faced accusations of sexual assault in October 2017. Actor Anthony Rapp, best known for his role in the hit Broadway show Rent, publicly claimed Spacey had made inappropriate advances on him when Rapp was just 14 years old. Spacey has said he does not remember such an encounter happening, but in a Twitter statement acknowledged that it could have happened while he was very drunk. Spacey also used this moment to come out as a gay man. Spacey has not posted on Twitter since issuing this statement.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave 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.”
In the months since Rapp made his allegations, several more people have come forward accusing Spacey of sexual harassment or assault. One of those has triggered an investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors say they are looking into an alleged sex crime that reportedly happened in October of 1992 in West Hollywood.
In November 2017, Spacey entered a treatment facility. He has avoided being seen in public since that time and has not made public statements.
2. Robin Wright Pushed to Save House of Cards
After the allegations against Kevin Spacey came to light, it was unclear whether his hit Netflix show House of Cards would survive. Netflix initially suspended the hit drama amid the controversy.
Co-star Patricia Clarkson, who plays Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Jane Davis in season 5, credits Wright with saving the show. In a recent interview on CBS’ The Talk, Clarkson praises the show’s leaderships for crafting entirely new storylines. But she especially cheered Wright for fighting to ensure that everyone else who worked on the show got to keep their jobs. “Robin led all of this charge so that people would save their livelihoods because when the show goes away some people don’t get paid. I think it’s gonna be a stunning, stunning new season.”
3. Robin Wright Addresses Sexual Harassment
During the TODAY show interview, Savannath Guthrie asked Robin Wright if she had experienced sexual harassment. Wright smiled as she answered, “Of course. Who hasn’t?” She discussed the #MeToo movement as a new opportunity to address the imbalance of power that exists, especially between men and women. “This is a bigger, broader issue, I think, which is seduction. I don’t care who you are. It’s about power, and once you overpower someone, that person then becomes vulnerable. This last year has shined a light in a new way to allow us to start a new conversation. We just need to shift then paradigm.”
Wright was also asked whether she agreed with Netflix’s decision to fire Spacey. Wright appeared hesitant to answer, stating that she didn’t know how to comment on that. “I think at that time, the shock was so intense all over the nation, for many reasons, many stories, many people, I think that everybody felt that it was respectful to back off.”
4. Robin Wright Was Paid Less Than Kevin Spacey
In 2016, Robin Wright spoke out about the fact that she earned less money than Kevin Spacey. She addressed the issue in an interview with Judith Rodin, the president of The Rockefeller Foundation.
“It’s a pandemic… Women earn 82% of what their male counterparts make. And you do have to shame and guilt them into it. And I did it on my show recently. I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin.’ Because it was a perfect paradigm and example to use because there are very few films of TV shows where the male– the patriarch and the matriarch– are equal. And they are in House of Cards. And I was looking at statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than his for a period of time in the season so I capitalized on that moment. And I was like, ‘You better pay me, or I’m going to go public.'”
But the pay raise reportedly did not happen, at least not in 2017. Robin Wright addressed the issue again with the magazine Rhapsody. . The interviewer asked if Wright was happy that she had “shattered a personal glass ceiling.” Wright’s response was that she hadn’t won that battle. “I don’t think I’m getting paid the same amount. They told me I was getting a raise. But … I don’t think so.”
According to Forbes, Wright was earning about $420,000 per episode in 2015. By comparison, Spacey was making $500,000 per episode in 2014.
5. Claire Underwood: “We’re Just Getting Started”
Season 6 of House of Cards is set to debut this fall on Netflix. It’s a shorter season than the ones that came before it: 8 episodes instead of 13. Robin Wright’s character, Clair Underwood, assumes the presidency after her husband Frank resigns. In the teaser clip, Wright’s character is seen behind the desk in the oval office, stating “we’re just getting started.”
Robin Wright also added a new credential to her resume during the filming of the finale season: Director. She held the reins for the finale episode of the popular series.
Co-stars Michael Kelly and Constance Zimmer also spoke with Savannah Guthrie about the sixth and final season. Kelly acknowledged that it felt a bit odd at first not to have Kevin Spacey there while they read over the script, since he was such an integral part of the show for so long. But Zimmer also pointed out that the team already knew the show would end after the sixth season; the sexual assault allegations against Spacey did not prompt the ending of the series entirely.