LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Amazon has suspended the head of its entertainment division in the wake of sexual harassment accusations from a TV producer, the company announced on Thursday (Oct 12, US time).
A spokesman said Amazon Studios chief Roy Price was "on leave of absence effective immediately."
The move came after Isa Hackett, a producer for The Man In The High Castle, one of the studio's highest-profile shows, told trade weekly The Hollywood Reporter he had repeatedly propositioned her in July 2015. Hackett, the daughter of author Philip K. Dick, whose work is the basis for High Castle, said Price, 51, made lewd suggestions in a taxi on the way to a party during the annual San Diego Comic-Con fan convention.
She says she made it clear she wasn't interested - that she was a lesbian with a wife and children - but Price persisted, according to the magazine, and even approached her at the party later and shouted "anal sex" in her ear.
Hackett, 50, told the Hollywood Reporter she raised Price's behaviour with studio executives who launched an investigation - but she was never informed of the outcome.
The allegations came as actress Rose McGowan berated Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter, claiming the company ignored her claims that disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had raped her. McGowan, 44, said she repeatedly warned Amazon about "HW" and pleaded with the studio to not to work with the producer but was told by an executive that "it hadn't been proven".
The Charmed actress accused Amazon of dropping a show based on a script she had sold the studio after she heard that "a Weinstein bailout was in the works".
"@jeffbezos I am calling on you to stop funding rapists, alleged pedos and sexual harassers. I love @amazon but there is rot in Hollywood," she tweeted, calling on the executive to "be the change you want to see in the world. Stand with truth."
The Hollywood Reporter said the actress had confirmed that "HW" referred to Weinstein, who was sacked by the board of his own company this week amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment and rape going back decades. Amazon said it was "reviewing our options for our projects we have with the Weinstein Company."
McGowan's series of six tweets came after her account was reactivated following a brief suspension imposed by Twitter for violating its terms and policies. The social media platform said the ban was the result of McGowan including a personal phone number in tweets in support of women alleging they had been sexually abused by Weinstein. The suspension nevertheless prompted a flood of tweets from users, mainly women, who said they would be boycotting the platform today.