The Harvey Weinstein scandal has already led to some soul searching in Hollywood, as victims of harassment are finally feeling emboldened to break their silence and report their own stories. Now, Hollywood is seeing its next major target: Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios.
As first reported by Variety, Amazon has placed Price on leave of absence. COO Albert Cheng has been named interim boss.
“Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement, also supplied to IndieWire. The statement also added, “We are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Co.”
The decision to suspend Price came after allegations of sexual harassment became public. As Kim Masters first reported on Aug. 25 in The Information, Price allegedly made sexual remarks to producer Isa Hackett in July 2015 at San Diego Comic-Con. Hackett, the daughter of author Philip K. Dick, runs Electric Shepherd Prods. and is a producer on the Amazon series “The Man in the High Castle,” as well as another upcoming series for the streaming service, “Electric Dreams.”
IndieWire has contacted Hackett for comment, but she hasn’t yet responded.
According to The Information, Hackett reported the incident to Amazon, which hired an outside investigator to explore the incident. Hackett told Masters that she hasn’t been given the outcome of the investigation. Hackett initially told The Information that “I do not wish to discuss the details of this troubling incident with Roy except to say Amazon investigated immediately and with an outside investigator… It’s my great privilege and responsibility to oversee adaptations of my father’s work and I intend to remain focused on doing my very best to give fans thoughtful, faithful and entertaining shows.”
In light of the Weinstein news, however, Hackett decided on Thursday to go on the record with Masters for THR. “I feel inspired by the other women who have been far braver than I am, who have come forward,” Hackett said. “There’s a culture of harassment [in Hollywood] and we need an infusion of new and diverse leadership.”
Before Price was suspended, attorney Lisa Bloom had already dropped Price as a client. (Bloom had also recently severed ties with another client, Harvey Weinstein.)
The Price allegations come as, separately, Rose McGowan took on Amazon and Jeff Bezos today in a series of Tweets. In writing that Weinstein raped her, McGowan also said she told the head of Amazon Studios) about the incident after she sold a script there, and that he ignored her request not to work with Weinstein on the project — killing the show instead.
McGowan had been optimistic about the show back in 2016 at IFP Film Week, when she broke the news to a panel audience that she had sold the show. (She didn’t reveal the concept at the time, but it was noted that McGowan has talked before about wanting to make a show about her early childhood experience in the Children of God cult.)
Earlier in 2016, Price on Twitter posted a photo of McGowan with him:
— Roy Price (@RoyPrice) July 15, 2016
The Price allegations come as the studio chief is under fire for Amazon’s mix of TV content and need to attract a broader base of viewership. While Amazon earned some critical praise and awards for shows like “Transparent,” the company’s Amazon Prime label hasn’t found a hit on par with Netflix’s “Stranger Things” or HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” As a result, Bezos has given Prime an edict to move away from arthouse fare and focus on more populist, blockbuster-style projects.
Meanwhile, the Amazon statement also confirms that is reassessing the involvement of The Weinstein Co. on two high-profile shows it has in the works from David O. Russell (starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore) and Matthew Weiner (“The Romanoffs”). Weinstein Co. hadn’t yet financed the shows, which will likely make it easier for Amazon to buy out the beleaguered production company and find new partners for both projects.