Amazon Studios chief resigns as harassment claims surface

Roy Price’s departure comes days after the company placed him on unpaid leave, and it shows the ripple effect of the Harvey Weinstein crisis.

As Hollywood continues to react to its growing PR crisis, another executive has fallen from grace.

Roy Price, Amazon Studios’ chief executive, resigned Tuesday following claims that he sexually harassed a producer.

CNN reported:

Price was suspended following The Hollywood Reporter’s publication of an article detailing harassment allegations against him, made by Isa Hackett, a producer of the Amazon series “The Man in the High Castle.”

Price did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

Price has remained silent on social media as well, save for changing his work status on Facebook:

Though Amazon was quick to place Price on unpaid leave following The Hollywood Reporter’s article, it has also stayed quiet in the wake of his resignation.

The New York Times reported:

Just hours after the article was published, Amazon announced that Mr. Price had been suspended. Representatives for Amazon did not immediately answer inquiries on whether or not a broader investigation of Mr. Price has been conducted in the days since.

“Contacted by The Verge, an Amazon representative confirmed his resignation,” The Verge reported, though it offered no additional statements.

CNN reported:

The harassment accusations stemmed from an incident in 2015. Hackett alleged that Price repeatedly made lewd comments to her, despite her rebuffs, while they were both attending Comic-Con.

Hackett told THR reporter Kim Masters that she reported the improper behavior to Amazon at the time.

Amazon’s move to distance itself from the former executive comes as the fallout involving Harvey Weinstein grows.

 

 

The New York Times reported:

Mr. Price became a bit player in the Weinstein story when Rose McGowan, an actress who had reached a settlement with Mr. Weinstein in 1997 after an episode at a film festival, posted a series of tweets directed at Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon. In them, Ms. McGowan said she had told the head of Amazon Studios that Mr. Weinstein had raped her. (Ms. McGowan did not mention Mr. Price by name and did not respond to a message on Twitter asking for clarification.)

Before that series of tweets, Ms. McGowan had directed a Twitter message at Mr. Price concerning Mr. Weinstein, asking, “Remember when I told you not to do a deal with him and why?”

Other organizations—including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Twitter—have moved to stem backlash after the allegations against Weinstein surfaced.

Twitter recently announced additional rules to address sexual harassment on its platform.

Wired reported:

After Tuesday’s meeting, Twitter’s head of safety policy emailed members of its Trust and Safety Council with detailed plans on its new rules, which Twitter plans to implement in the coming weeks.

The new plans stop short of sweeping measures, such as banning pornography or specific groups like Nazis. Rather, they offer expanded features like allowing observers of unwanted sexual advances—as well as victims—to report them, and expanded definitions, such as including “creep shots” and hidden camera content under the definition of “nonconsensual nudity.” The company also plans to hide hate symbols behind a “sensitive image” warning, though it has not yet defined what qualifies as a hate symbol. Twitter also says it will take unspecified enforcement actions against “organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause.”

Other organizations might find themselves affected by the growing harassment crisis; if so, communicators can take a page from Amazon’s playbook and emulate its swift response.

Hackett said she approved of Amazon’s move to cut ties with Price.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

“I’m pleased Amazon is taking steps to address the issues,” Hackett said in a statement Tuesday.

“An important conversation has begun about the need to create a culture in our industry which values respect and decency and rejects the abuse of power and dehumanizing treatment of others,” she said. “This is truly an opportunity to find a better way forward, and ultimately toward a balanced representation of women and minorities in leadership positions.”

Albert Cheng, Amazon Studios’ chief operations officer, has taken over as the company’s interim chief executive.

How would you advise Amazon, PR Daily readers?

(Image by Amazon Studios via)

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