Amazon Studios Chief Suspended After Sexual Harassment Claim
Continue reading the main story
Share This Page
Roy Price, the executive in charge of Amazon’s growing investment in movies and television shows, was suspended by the company on Thursday after a Hollywood producer publicly accused him of making unwanted sexual advances toward her.
Mr. Price, the head of Amazon Studios, was accused of lewdly propositioning Isa Dick Hackett, a producer of one of its most popular shows, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published earlier in the day.
In the interview, Ms. Hackett, an executive producer of the Amazon series “The Man in the High Castle,” said that Mr. Price had repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances toward her two years ago after a dinner at Comic-Con in San Diego.
When reached by The New York Times on Thursday, Ms. Hackett said she was “talked out” but said that the details in the article, written by Kim Masters, were accurate.
“I just wanted to get that out,” Ms. Hackett said in the brief phone interview.
According to the Hollywood Reporter article, Ms. Hackett entered a cab on July 10, 2015, with Mr. Price and Michael Paull, then an executive at Amazon and now the chief executive of BamTech, as they were making their way to an after party. Ms. Hackett said that Mr. Price repeatedly propositioned her in the cab, once making use of a vulgar term for male genitalia. At the party, Ms. Hackett said, Mr. Price approached her while she was speaking to other executives and shouted “Anal sex!” directly in her ear.
In a statement, an Amazon spokesman said, “Roy Price is on a leave of absence effective immediately.” Albert Cheng, currently the chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, will assume Mr. Price’s duties on an interim basis, an Amazon spokesman said.
Ms. Hackett is a daughter of the late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. “The Man in the High Castle” series, which was renewed for a third season in May, is based on one of his 44 published novels. Although Amazon does not release viewership numbers, the company said in 2015 that “The Man in the High Castle” was its most-streamed show.
Ms. Hackett is also a producer of “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” an anthology series that premiered in Britain last month and will be streamed by Amazon Video next year.
Allegations that Mr. Price had made unwanted sexual remarks to Ms. Hackett surfaced in August in an article by Ms. Masters that was published on the tech news website The Information.
That article included few specifics about Ms. Hackett’s claims, with Ms. Hackett providing a statement that she did not “wish to discuss the details of this troubling incident with Roy except to say Amazon investigated immediately and with an outside investigator.”
In The Hollywood Reporter article, Ms. Hackett said she had been inspired to come forward after the publication of articles in The Times and The New Yorker that detailed accusations of abuse from numerous women against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“I think women inspire each other,” Ms. Hackett said. “I feel inspired by the other women who have been far braver than I am, who have come forward. I hope we all continue to inspire each other and ultimately create change.”
Mr. Price has been with Amazon since 2004, and became the head of Amazon Studios three years ago. When The Information story was published, he was represented by Lisa Bloom, the lawyer who recently resigned as an adviser to Mr. Weinstein. Ms. Bloom has also represented women who brought sexual harassment claims against the actor Bill Cosby and the former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
Ms. Bloom said in an email that her “representation of Roy Price has concluded.”
Earlier Thursday, Rose McGowan, an actress who 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, saying 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.
Mr. Weinstein’s spokeswoman has said he denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex “unequivocally.”
Last Friday, the day after The Times story on Mr. Weinstein was published, Ms. McGowan directed a Twitter message at Mr. Price saying, “remember when I told you not to do a deal with him and why?”
Emily Steel contributed reporting.
A version of this article appears in print on October 13, 2017, on Page B6 of the New York edition with the headline: Executive At Amazon Is Accused Of Harassing. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe