Officially, the decision "has been in the works since summer," but the news comes mere hours after BuzzFeed published a story alleging that House of Cards headliner and executive producer Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp in 1986 when Rapp was 14.
Elsewhere, an anonymous source who spoke with CNN claimed the decision to end the show and the controversy surrounding Spacey were "two separate things." Nevertheless, rightly or wrongly, the internet has been busy supplying its own interpretations of the timing.
House of Cards kicked off Netflix's current focus on original content back in 2011, when the popular streaming service managed to outbid HBO for the rights. The first season went live in 2013. It's been a particularly interesting series to watch in light of the current political climate in the US, as we noted last year when we said that Season 4 was "more timely than ever."
Yet other statements suggest a more complex story than Netflix's cancellation announcement. Earlier this afternoon The Hollywood Reporter also published a joint statement from Netflix and House of Cards producer Media Rights Capital saying they were "deeply disturbed" by the allegations surrounding Spacey. The statement also reported that Spacey was currently not on the set, but apparently this was "previously scheduled."
"In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported," the statement said.
Spacey posted a response to the allegations Sunday night on Twitter, in which he also publicly announced that he is gay. Spacey claimed he did not remember the incident with Rapp.
"But if I did behave then as he describes," Spacey said, "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 timing of Spacey's announcement and its nature have both been severely criticized.
"Coming-out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, a gay rights organization. "This isn't a coming out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp & those who speak out about unwanted sexual advances."