Amazon Studio Boss Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Scandal
Embattled Amazon Studios head Roy Price – who was suspended by the company last week after a producer claimed Price had repeatedly sexually harassed her – has finally made it official.
Variety reports Price officially resigned from Amazon on Tuesday, a decision that was expected by many in the industry. In Price’s absence, Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng was named interim president.
Isa Hackett, a producer on ‘The Man in the High Castle,’ said she was harassed by Price during a late-night cab ride on the evening of July 10, 2015, after a long day of promoting the series at Comic-Con in San Diego. Hackett attended a dinner with the show’s cast and Amazon staff at the US Grant Hotel. At the dinner, Price asked Hackett to attend an Amazon staff party later that night at the former W Hotel. She ended up in a taxi with Price and Michael Paull, then another top Amazon executive and now CEO of the digital media company BAMTech, where Price repeatedly propositioned her, Variety reported.
Price reportedly told Hackett “You’ll Love My Dick” and whispered references to anal sex in her ear while she was trying to have a conversation with another person.
Hackett said she immediately reported the incident to Amazon, but little was done until the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted and renewed the focus on sexual predation and exploitation in the entertainment industry.
Price joined Amazon in 2004 as the company set out to launch its video-on-demand service. That business has since grown into an original-series and feature-film studio, with Price at the helm. Under Price, Amazon launched series such as “Catastrophe,” “Bosch,” and Golden Globe winners “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent.”
Still, the type of popular appeal that company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has been elusive. Earlier this year, Bezos mandated a shift in programming strategy away from the niche, naturalistic dramas favored by Price and toward large-scale genre projects with the potential to capture large international audiences.
As Amazon Studios began executing on Bezos’ mandate this summer, Price became the subject of sexual harassment allegations first reported on business website The Information in August, which stoked rumors that Price might soon be headed for the exit. His fate was sealed when Hackett went public with her claims on Oct. 12.