Amazon Studios chief Roy Price was suspended with immediate effect on Thursday, following allegations that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress’s claim of a sexual assault by producer Harvey Weinstein.
The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday published an allegation by Isa Hackett, a producer on one of Amazon.com Inc’s shows, that Price had lewdly propositioned her in 2015.
Amazon said in a statement: “Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately. We are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Co.”
Hackett, who is the daughter of famed science fiction author Philip K Dick, whose book The Man in the High Castle served as the basis for Amazon’s eponymous show, told the magazine Price repeatedly and insistently propositioned her, claiming: “You will love my dick.” Hackett says she made it clear she was not interested and told him she is a lesbian with a wife and children.
Price could not immediately be reached independently by Reuters and he declined to comment to the Hollywood Reporter.
Price’s removal creates uncertainty about the studio’s direction when Amazon is investing more on video content than ever before – some $4.5 billion this year.
The studio’s Chief Operating Officer Albert Cheng will step in as the interim chief, Amazon said.
Also on Thursday, actress Rose McGowan said on Twitter that she had told Price that she had been assaulted by Weinstein, who was forced out of his company this week following reports in the New Yorker and the New York Times that he had harassed and assaulted numerous women over the years.
In tweets directed at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, she criticized the company for doing business with the Weinstein Co.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.”
Since Weinstein was named and shamed, the ‘Scream’ actress has been vocal on Twitter, praising other women for coming forward and exposing those who she believes could have done more to highlight the shamed movie boss’s behaviour.
On Wednesday night, she took to Instagram, writing: “TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME. THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE. #ROSEARMY”
She also posted an apparent notice from Twitter that read: “We have determined that this account violated the Twitter rules, so we’ve temporarily limited some of your account features.”
It is unclear which tweets from the actress’s account would have violated Twitter’s rules.
Price has been integral to Amazon’s movie business, helping steer it through an attempt to crowd-source television scripts and garnering Hollywood awards for shows such as “Transparent.”
Amazon hopes original movies and TV shows will draw new people to join its streaming and shopping club Prime, and in turn buy more goods from the online retailer.
The studio picked up three Oscars this year under Price’s helm, though its failure to show at the Emmy Awards last month was seen by many in Hollywood as a setback.