Roy Price Resigns as Head of Amazon Studios

By Joe Flint Features Dow Jones Newswires

Roy Price is out as head of Amazon Studios, days after details of a two-year-old accusation of sexual harassment became public.

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The company confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Price had resigned. Mr. Price couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Price, who had overseen Amazon.com Inc.'s film and television operations, was suspended late last week when Isa Dick Hackett, a producer on the Amazon program "The Man in the High Castle," went public with her complaint that Mr. Price sexually harassed her in 2015. Ms. Hackett said Mr. Price had made inappropriate and crude remarks about his genitalia and then sexually propositioned her.

Mr. Price had also received criticism for his close business relationship with movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who was forced out of Weinstein Co. after disclosures of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Since then, other actresses and executives have come forward with stories of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of Mr. Weinstein.

Albert Cheng, the chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, will serve as interim head of the entertainment studio.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

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Roy Price is out as head of Amazon Studios, days after details of a two-year-old accusation of sexual harassment became public.

The company said Tuesday that Mr. Price had resigned. Mr. Price didn't respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Price, who had overseen Amazon.com Inc.'s film and television operations, was suspended late last week when Isa Dick Hackett, a producer on the Amazon program "The Man in the High Castle," went public with her complaint that Mr. Price sexually harassed her in 2015. Ms. Hackett said Mr. Price had made inappropriate and crude remarks about his genitalia and then sexually propositioned her.

Albert Cheng, the chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, will serve as interim head of the entertainment studio.

Mr. Price's resignation comes in the wake of the scandal at Weinstein Co. where co-chairman Harvey Weinstein was forced out after disclosures of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Since then, other actresses and executives have come forward with stories of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of Mr. Weinstein and others, amid a rising backlash against what is seen as a culture of harassment against women in Hollywood at the hands of male executives.

Mr. Price had also received criticism for his close business relationship with Mr. Weinstein. Earlier this year, Weinstein Co. purchased an idea for a television show from Lila Feinberg, a writer who was Mr. Price's fiancée at the time.

The concept was originally pitched by Mr. Price to Amazon but after a conflict-of-interest review, the studio declined to buy the script, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Price's wedding to Ms. Feinberg was recently called off, a person close to her said.

Ms. Feinberg declined to comment.

Weinstein Co. also had two other shows in development with Amazon. One, a drama starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore with director David O. Russell on board as well was canceled last week. Another show from "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner is continuing.

Ms. Hackett said made her initial complaints to Amazon about Mr. Price in July 2015. She said she was interviewed by an outside investigator but never told of the results nor did she receive any apology. Former Amazon employees said the only reprimand to Mr. Price was that he was told not to drink at company events anymore.

An Amazon spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Last week, after the revelations about Mr. Weinstein, Ms. Hackett said she felt compelled to break her silence. She told The Wall Street Journal that she was inspired by the women who spoke out against Mr. Weinstein and hoped that telling her story would inspire others, "particularly those who cannot speak out for themselves."

Amazon's creative efforts under Mr. Price were a mixed bag. Critical successes include "Transparent" and "One Mississippi" but neither drew big audiences. Several producers who made shows for Amazon, including David E. Kelley and Shawn Ryan, have complained that the company was not artist friendly nor well-versed in the ins and outs of production.

Mr. Ryan, who made the show "Mad Dogs" for Amazon said the management at Amazon put "everything in chaos" on his show. Mr. Kelley said Amazon is in "way over their heads."

Ms. Hackett said Tuesday that "I'm pleased Amazon is taking steps to address the issues. 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. This is truly an opportunity to find a better way forward, and ultimately toward a balanced representation of women and minorities in leadership positions."

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 17, 2017 19:57 ET (23:57 GMT)