Price quits Amazon Studios after sexual harassment claim

Representatives for Amazon did not immediately answer inquiries on whether or not a broader investigation of Roy Price has been conducted in the days since.
Representatives for Amazon did not immediately answer inquiries on whether or not a broader investigation of Roy Price has been conducted in the days since.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (NYTIMES) - The head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, resigned Tuesday (Oct 17), just days after a producer publicly accused him of sexual harassment, a spokesman for the company said.

Price, who was in charge of Amazon's efforts to create original movies and television shows, had been suspended last week.

Last week, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Isa Dick Hackett, an executive producer of the popular Amazon show The Man In The High Castle, said Price had lewdly and repeatedly propositioned her in 2015.

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

The author of The Hollywood Reporter article, Kim Masters, previously reported for the publication The Information that an investigation had been conducted a few weeks after the alleged incident two years ago.

Price, who could not be reached for comment, made no secret of his departure from Amazon. Shortly before 5 ppm ET on Tuesday (5am Singapore time on Wednesday), he updated his Facebook page to say he had left his job.

The move followed the firing and Hollywood-wide denunciation of mogul Harvey Weinstein, which resulted from the many accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him. (Weinstein, through his spokeswoman, has denied engaging in nonconsensual sex.)

Price became a bit player in the Weinstein story when Rose McGowan, an actress who had reached a settlement with 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, McGowan said she had told the head of Amazon Studios that Weinstein had raped her. (McGowan did not mention Price by name and did not respond to a message on Twitter asking for clarification.) Before that series of tweets, McGowan had directed a Twitter message at Price concerning Weinstein, asking, "Remember when I told you not to do a deal with him and why?"

Price, a Harvard alumnus who once worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., had been an executive at Amazon for the last 13 years. He oversaw several TV shows, including Transparent and The Man In The High Castle.

Amazon's original programming has not gotten the same buzz as Netflix shows like Stranger Things or Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, which won an Emmy last month in the best drama category. Amazon was already in the process of trying out a new game plan for its original programming by time Price was suspended.

On his watch, Amazon distributed the Oscar-winning film Manchester By The Sea, and made itself into a force on the film festival circuit. The recent New York Film Festival opened with an Amazon-financed film, Richard Linklater's Last Flag Flying; featured an Amazon coproduction, Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck as its "centerpiece" attraction; and closed with the Amazon-distributed Wonder Wheel the latest from Woody Allen. The red-carpet portion of the Wonder Wheel premiere was cancelled on Saturday, two days after Amazon announced Price's suspension.

Albert Cheng, the chief operations officer for Amazon Studios and the former head of digital operations at ABC, was assigned to be Price's interim replacement.