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Top Exec At Amazon Studios Put On Leave After Harassment Allegations

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET

Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios, has been put on leave following allegations published in The Hollywood Reporter that he sexually harassed a female producer for the series The Man in the High Castle.

The incident allegedly occurred in July 2015 at a Comic-Con in San Diego, according to the trade paper, which says that in a taxi, Price "repeatedly and insistently propositioned" producer Isa Hackett using explicit language.

In a brief statement, Amazon confirmed late Thursday that: "Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately."

Hackett, who is the daughter of Philip K. Dick, the author of the book The Man in the High Castle says that Michael Paull, then-Amazon executive and now CEO of the digital media company BAMTech, was also in the taxi with Hackett and Price at the time of the incident.

According to Hollywood Reporter:

"Hackett says she reported the incident to Amazon executives immediately. An outside investigator, Christine Farrell of Public Interest Investigations Inc., was brought in and spoke to Hackett and executives at Amazon. Hackett says she was never told the outcome of that inquiry, but notes that she hasn't seen Price at any events involving her shows."

The allegation against Price follows a series of similar ones directed at film executive Harvey Weinstein. On Sunday, The Weinstein Co., which Weinstein co-founded, fired him after dozens of women, including actors Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, went public with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.

In Thursday's statement from Amazon, the company said it was also reviewing its options for projects with The Weinstein Co. Those projects include The Romanoffs and an untitled drama from filmmaker David O. Russell starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, according to The Associated Press.

That review also follows a series of tweets by actor, director and producer Rose McGowan on Thursday in which she confirmed that Weinstein is the Hollywood executive she claims raped her. In the tweets, directed at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, McGowan says "I told the head of your studio that HW raped me. Over & over I said it." McGowan also says that a script she had written that was in development was abruptly pulled by Amazon after she raised the allegations.

The AP, quoting Hackett's attorney, Christopher Tricarico, says Hollywood Reporter's account is accurate. Tricarico says his client does not intend to pursue legal action against Amazon or Price.

Hackett, who initially was publicly reticent about the incident, told Hollywood Reporter that "It was shocking and surreal," and that she believed it was important to speak up now.

"I didn't want the details to come out previously because I didn't want to distract or deflate the energies of all the people who are so invested in these shows, and all of that positivity," she told the trade paper. "You don't want to bring this into it. It feels demoralizing."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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