Ama­zon Stu­dios chief sus­pended over ha­rass­ment claim

Weekend Herald - - WORLD -

Ama­zon Stu­dios chief Roy Price was put on an im­me­di­ate leave of ab­sence yes­ter­day, the com­pany said, fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions that he ha­rassed a pro­ducer and ig­nored an ac­tress’ claim of a sex­ual as­sault by pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein.

The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter yes­ter­day re­ported an al­le­ga­tion by Isa Hack­ett, a pro­ducer on one of Ama­zon. com’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 did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. Reuters could not in­de­pen­dently con­firm the al­le­ga­tion. 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 US$ 4.5 bil­lion ($ 6.3b) this year.

The stu­dio’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Al­bert Cheng will step in as the in­terim chief, Ama­zon said.

Hack­ett 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.

Ac­tress Rose McGowan said on Twit­ter yes­ter­day 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 crit­i­cised the com­pany for do­ing busi­ness with the We­in­stein Co.

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.

Pic­ture / AP

Roy Price.

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