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Amazon suspends studio chief amid Weinstein scandal

Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios.
Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios, has been put on leave. Photograph: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Amazon has put the head of its video content service on leave after he became embroiled in the widening scandal surrounding the disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

Roy Price, who is in charge of Amazon Studios, is accused of sexually harassing Isa Hackett, the producer of one its best known shows, The Man in the High Castle. The actor Rose McGowan also claimed Price ignored her claim that Weinstein had raped her.

Amazon announced that Price had been placed on an immediate leave of absence, while it investigated the allegations. Price has yet to comment.

Amazon also said it was considering scrapping two projects it was working on with the Weinstein Company, which sacked Harvey Weinstein, one of its founders, earlier this week after he was accused of sexual harassment and assault by several actors.

The projects are the The Romanoffs, with the Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, and an untitled drama starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore.

Hackett, daughter of the late science fiction writer Philip K Dick, alleged that Price repeatedly propositioned her on the way to, and during, an Amazon party in 2015. She told the industry trade magazine the Hollywood Reporter that Price had said: “You will love my dick.” She said after she made clear she had a wife and children, Price loudly suggested “anal sex”, within earshot of several others at the gathering.

Hackett added that when she told Amazon about the incident it hired external investigators, but she was never told about the results.

Christopher Tricarico, a laywer for Hackett, said the magazine’s account of her allegations was accurate.

Price is also accused of ignoring McGowan’s allegation against Weinstein and dropping her show after she spoke up.

“I told the head of your studio that HW raped me,” she wrote in a tweet to Amazon’s CEO, using Weinstein’s initials. “Over & over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof.” She further claimed Amazon had “won a dirty Oscar” while “funding rapists”.

The studio picked up three Oscars this year under Price’s helm.

Police in New York and London have launched investigations following the publication of a series of claims against Weinstein that go back decades.

He denies allegations of non-consensual sex.

On Wednesday he was seen in public for the first time in days when paparazzi descended upon him as he left his daughter’s home in Los Angeles.

“Guys, I’m not doing OK but I’m trying,” he said in a video obtained by ABC. “I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes.”

As he climbed into a large chauffeur-driven 4x4 he he said he hoped people would give him “a second chance”.

Around 30 women, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have gone public with accusations against Weinstein after an initial report by the New York Times last week. Many are calling for sweeping changes in the industry, and urging more women to speak out about harassment and abuse.

The eastern branch of the Writers Guild of America noted the scope of the problem in a statement on Thursday, writing: “Sexual harassment and assault have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry.”

This article titled "Amazon suspends studio chief amid Weinstein scandal" was written by Matthew Weaver and agencies, for theguardian.com on Friday 13 October 2017 08.47am

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