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Amazon Executive Suspended for Sexual Harassment
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Roy Price. Photo courtesy of The Standard.

Summary: Amazon Studios has suspended its president, Roy Price. 

Hollywood has always had a problem with sexual harassment–the phrase “casting couch” did emerge from the industry’s shady practices after all–but with Harvey Weinstein’s recent scandal, is there a chance that Hollywood will clean house?

  
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On Thursday, Amazon Studios suspended its president, Roy Price after a creative accused him of sexual harassment, according to TMZ.

Earlier that day, Isa Hackett, the executive producer of Amazon’s tentpole TV show “Man in the High Castle,” stated that Price had made inappropriate sexual remarks to her in July of 2015 at Comic-Con. An example of his lewd remarks to her: “You will love my d**k.” News of the harassment was published in August on the website The Information, but Hackett had not commented publicly about the scandal at the time and the story was mostly ignored.

However, the environment has changed in only a few weeks. Last Thursday, The New York Times published a scathing expose about Hollywood’s open secret–that Harvey Weinstein had allegedly sexually harassed and even raped actresses and young women for thirty years with no consequence. After the piece was published, numerous celebrities came forward to share their own horrific experiences with Weinstein, and actress Rose McGowan has been vigilant in voicing her call to clean up the entertainment business.

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After Hackett’s allegation against Price resurfaced, McGowan tweeted that she had told an Amazon executive how Weinstein had raped her and that the studio did nothing. Shortly after McGowan’s tweet, which was sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Roy Price took a leave of absence.

Hackett, who is the daughter of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, said that she came forward with the Price story recently after so many people bravely came out about Weinstein.



“I think women inspire each other,” Hackett told Kim Masters of The Information. “I feel inspired by the other women who have been far braver than I am, who have come forward. I hope we all continue to inspire each other and ultimately create change.”

Slate pointed out that before Price’s suspension Amazon Studios had a history of alleged sexism. McGowan said that Amazon Studios continued to do business with Harvey Weinstein’s company, The Weinstein Company, even though she had told them he had raped her; and writer Lila Byock noted how odd it was that Amazon gave first-time male TV creators like Woody Allen their own shows but made women such as Jill Soloway go through the Amazon Prime pilot process.

Price is the head of Amazon Studios, and he has the power to greenlight the companies’ well-funded TV and film projects. Under his leadership, Amazon created “Man in the High Castle” and “Goliath,” but declined female-focused projects such as “Big Little Lies” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which were lucrative smashes for other networks.

Amazon told CNN that they had taken Hackett’s allegation seriously when she made it, but they had not released a statement. However, it appears the company had to make a public response now that Hollywood is in the post-Weinstein era, and the studio is under scrutiny because of Hackett and McGowan.

“We take seriously any questions about the conduct of our employees,” an Amazon spokesperson tells 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.”

Amazon has also not severed its ties with The Weinstein Company, but it said it was considering the decision.

What do you think of Amazon Studios and the allegations against it? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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