Kevin Spacey, the face of the hit Netflix Series "House of Cards", was removed in the midst of filming Season 6 due to sexual misconduct allegations. Actor Anthony Rapp claimed that Spacey had made advances on him in 1986, in which Rapp was 14 years old and Spacey was 26. After the media got wind of the allegations, tens and twenties of other accusers came out of the woodworks against Spacey. These claims ranged from when Spacey was an up-and-coming actor in the 1980s to just a couple years ago. "House of Cards" immediately removed Spacey from his lead role as President Frank Underwood and Executive Producer of the series. Netflix proceeded to sever all ties with him. Suddenly, no major film companies wanted anything to do with one of the most prominent and popular actors of all time. To this, we can credit the movement against sexual assault in Hollywood and Entertainment Industries (see: Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, James Franco, the list goes on).
Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright), the wife of Frank Underwood and First Lady of the United States in the show, was thrust into power as new President of the United States. Side note: this didn't happen randomly--there was a shift in power building up at the end of Season 5. Kevin Spacey's reputation as a determined, highly-respected, and ingenious president didn't miss a beat in transferring to the First Lady, as she inherited the Oval Office in Season 6. Without spoiling any details of the political thriller, Claire Underwood makes it clear that she is finished letting men trample over her and being degraded due to her gender. Just as Frank did in prior seasons, Claire makes a name for herself as a badass president and pioneer of women in power. The television critic in me is highly impressed. The feminist in me has both hands in the air, screaming for joy.
Let's not bullshit ourselves--with the removal of the face of the show, the second most powerful character was bound to be the new main event. It was a given that this had to be one of few realistic moves they could make. However, let's not forget the fantastic job that producers and directors did in illuminating the fact that women are just as capable of calling shots and making vital decisions for our country. This also speaks to the ideals of feminism, in which this show proves to be adjusting to the times and getting on the right page of gender equality. To go a step further, one has to think that the direction of the show must be a response to Spacey's allegations of mistreating men and women coworkers alike. So, let's applaud the direction that "House of Cards" chose to go. Not only did they rebound as a staple program of Netflix's Originals, but they contributed to the conversation of gender roles, one that we don't have often enough.
Here's to hoping that other shows recognize this trend in humanity and follow suit.