Roy Price has resigned from Amazon Studios, following allegations of sexual harassment made last week.
The accusations, which were made public on Thursday, were by The Man in the High Castle producer Isa Hackett. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she detailed an incident in 2015, when Price allegedly harassed her sexually at Comic-Con in San Diego.
Hackett had already reported them to Amazon, and noted when talking to The Hollywood Reporter that she had not seen Price at any events relating to her Amazon series since. When Hackett went public with her allegations, Amazon suspended Price from his post.
Actress Rose McGowan also published a series of tweets last week directed at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, stating that she had told Price that Harvey Weinstein had raped her.
Now, days after Price was suspended indefinitely, Price has resigned.
The removal of Price from his post as head of Amazon Studios marks the end of a chapter in the fledgling studio’s history, with Price launching it and running it from day one. Deadline reports that Price was already “under heavy scrutiny” before his suspense, with rumours reportedly flying in the spring about the incident.
Amazon Studios has also had some apparent trouble in recent months between its team and the talent on its shows, with Goliath co-creator David E. Kelley the latest showrunner to exit his project. That, however, should not distract from the importance of changing the unacceptable culture and practices of the entertainment industry, and with Deadline reporting that Paramount TV president Amy Powell is one of several female TV executives being considered for Price’s replacement, there is some hope that a change at Amazon is on the way. The studio has already cut its ties with The Weinstein Company, axeing a David O’Russell series starring Robert De Niro altogether, and taking over Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs as sole producer.
Amazon axes ties with Weinstein, scraps David O’Russell series
14th October 2017
Amazon has axed its ties with The Weinstein Company, following multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein’s company was working on two TV series with Amazon, which announced this week that it was reviewing its options on the shows. Now, it has made its decision. Amazon has scrapped David O’Russell’s planned TV series entirely. The untitled show, starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, has been officially cancelled, with the A-list trio connected issuing a joint statement:
“We support Amazon’s decision as In light of recent news and out of respect for all those affected we have decided together that it is best to not move forward with this show.”
Amazon has also cut ties with TWC on Matthew Weiner’s new series, The Romanoffs. Initially a co-financed production, Deadline reports that TWC had not yet provided any financing for the project – now, Amazon has decided to continue with the project by itself with no connection to TWC.
The projects are thought to have been a result of the friendship between Harvey Weinstein and former Amazon Studios chief Roy Price. Price also faced accusations of sexual harassment this week from The Man in the High Castle producer Isa Hackett. Hackett had already reported them to Amazon, and noted when talking to The Hollywood Reporter that she had not seen Price at any events relating to her Amazon series since. When Hackett went public with her allegations, Amazon suspended Price from his post.
This week, actress Rose McGowan published a series of tweets directed at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, stating that she had told Price about Harvey Weinstein.
Buzzfeed has now obtained a memo sent by Bezos to employees, condemning Price’s actions, noting that he is “on leave of absence for an indefinite period of time”.
“Amazon does not tolerate harassment or abuse of our employees or our business partners,” he wrote. “If a concern is brought to our attention, we investigate it quickly and thoroughly. Sometimes we will hire an outside investigator to ensure impartiality. I’d like to emphasize, that at any time, if you have any concerns related to harassment or abuse at Amazon, please immediately report the incident to your manager, your HR business partner, the legal department, or the Amazon Ethics Hotline (in the U.S., [redacted]).”
“The news coming out of Hollywood over the past week has been shocking and disturbing — and unfortunately we are a part of it. It’s sad and very disappointing to me,” he added.
Deadline reports that a number of potential replacements for Roy Price’s post are in the hat, including Paramount TV’s Amy Powell, former HBO Entertainment President Sue Naegle, A+E CEO Nancy Dubuc, Fox’s Dana Walden, ABC’s Channing Dungey, NBC’s Jennifer Salke, and Warner Bros’ Susan Rovner.
Even with that presumed switch of Amazon Studios head, though, it is just the first step in a very long line of changes that need to be made to the industry as a whole.
Amazon Studios suspends Roy Price amid sexual harassment allegations
13th October 2017
Amazon has suspended Roy Price, following allegations of sexual harassment from a producer.
The Amazon Studios chief has been a key figure in the company’s expansion of Amazon Prime Video’s original content, but was put on immediate leave of absence by the company this week, after producer Isa Hackett spoke out about sexual harassment against her.
Hacket, who is the daughter of Philip K. Dick, is the producer of the TV series The Man in the High Castle, which is based on the author’s book of the same name. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter this week, she detailed an incident in 2015, when Price allegedly harassed her sexually at Comic-Con in San Diego.
“You will love my dick,” she alleged he said to her in July that year, after promoting The Man in the High Castle at the event. She reported that they met for the first time at a cast and crew dinner that day, before he asked her to attend an Amazon staff party, where she ended up in a taxi with Price and Michael Paull, a former Amazon executive. Hackett said that he repeatedly propositioned her, despite her saying no and making it clear that she was married and had children.
She described the incident as “shocking and surreal”, and added that she reported the incident to Amazon straight away. An external investigator, Christine Farrell of Public Interest Investigations Inc., looked into the issue, and, while Hackett said she was not told the outcome of that investigation, she also noted that she has not seen Price at any events involving her shows since.
“We take seriously any questions about the conduct of our employees,” an Amazon spokesperson told THR in a statement. “We expect people to set high standards for themselves; we encourage people to raise any concerns and we make it a priority to investigate and address them. Accordingly, we looked closely at this specific concern and addressed it directly with those involved.”
“It’s difficult after you report something because you’re carrying this anxiety about how to interact with somebody if and when you do see them,” Hackett commented. “You’re aware that other people may or may not know about it. It’s in the back of your mind. It’s a dark experience that’s sitting there. Obviously, I opted to take another show to Amazon because I love the team there. The experience, with the exception of this matter, has been entirely positive and I value the relationships.”
The allegations were made by Hackett as a growing number of women are speaking out about the sexual assault, abuse and harassment they have received in the entertainment industry, with Harvey Weinstein at the centre of those allegations. Weinstein has been forced out of his company this week, after multiple reports have come to light, with more continuing to emerge, spurred on by actress Rose McGowan and other brave women speaking out in an industry that has long been dominated by men, allowing such horrible, unacceptable behaviour to take place. McGowan has also said that she told Price of being assaulted by Weinstein, tweeting at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and criticising the company for doing business with The Weinstein Company.
In response, Amazon has now placed Price on immediate suspension, and the company is also reviewing the options it has for the projects produced by Weinstein.
“Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately. We are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Co,” the company told Reuters in a statement.
Price has declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter about Hackett’s accusations, while Weinstein’s spokesperson has issued this statement to the press: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
Amazon has appointed Albert Cheng as Amazon Studios’ interim chief.