Amazon has suspended top entertainment executive Roy Price. Albert Cheng COO of Amazon Studios, has been named interim head of the division.
“Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately,” an Amazon spokesperson told Variety Thursday. “We are reviewing our options for our projects we have with the Weinstein Company.”
The Amazon Studios president’s departure comes amid renewed sexual harassment allegations and multiple signs that Amazon and others in the industry had withdrawn their support from the embattled executive. Insiders have speculated for months about Price’s possible departure from his role as head of Amazon’s original-video arm. Multiple agents and producers who spoke to Variety in recent weeks speculated that such a departure may come soon.
That speculation has driven by concerns over possible sexual harassment and a dramatic shift in Amazon’s approach to original programming — one that was mandated by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and which rejects the strategy employed for years by Price.
On Thursday, reports resurfaced of an alleged harassment incident involving Price and Isa Hackett, an executive producer on Amazon original series “The Man in the High Castle” and the daughter of science-fiction author Philip K. Dick. According to reports, Price allegedly made a lewd joke to Hackett playing off the title of the Amazon series “I Love Dick,” pressured Hackett for sex, and made crude reference to anal intercourse.
Lisa Bloom, who had been representing Price as an attorney since the alleged harassment was reported on in August, dropped Price as a client on Thursday, with a representative for Bloom telling Variety, “Lisa’s representation of Roy Price has concluded.” Bloom similarly dropped Weinstein as a client earlier this week as multiple women began to speak out claiming that Weinstein had harassed or raped them.
One of Weinstein’s accusers, actress Rose McGowan, tweeted at Bezos Thursday, writing that a top-level Amazon Studios executive had rejected her claims that Weinstein had raped her. “I told the head of your studio that HW raped me. Over & over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof,” McGowan wrote. She added that the executive had then killed a project she was developing at the studio. Amazon is developing two series with the Weinstein Company, Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs” and an untitled drama with David O. Russell.
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