Amazon Emails Employees About Sex Harassment Allegations Against its Studio Chief
Amazon reportedly sent its employees an email this morning about the recent string of high-profile scandals to rock Hollywood, including the sexual harassment allegations against Amazon Studios head Roy Price that resulted in Amazon suspending Price indefinitely this week.
The email, sent by Amazon senior vice president of business development Jeff Blackburn and obtained by BuzzFeed, refers to the “shocking and disturbing” news making headlines in Hollywood this week and specifically mentions Price, as well as The Weinstein Company, which fired co-founder Harvey Weinstein after a long list of women publicly accused the movie mogul of sexual harassment and assault. Blackburn called the news “sad and disappointing,” and he urged Amazon employees to immediately report any harassment or abuse witnessed at the company.
“Amazon does not tolerate harassment or abuse of our employees or our business partners,” Blackburn wrote in the memo. “If a concern is brought to our attention, we investigate it quickly and thoroughly. Sometimes we will hire an outside investigator to ensure impartiality.”
Price has led the e-commerce giant’s rise in the world of streaming entertainment, culminating with multiple Academy Award wins earlier this year. But, the studio chief’s suspension comes after a producer on one of Amazon’s most popular TV series, Man in the High Castle, came forward this week to accuse Price of sexually harassing her two years ago. Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng will run the unit in Price’s absence, the company said.
The allegations from the producer, Isa Hackett, first came to light in August, when The Information reported that Amazon had investigated the matter two years ago, but the company did not suspend Price until this week.
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About Weinstein, Blackburn’s memo reiterated that the company is “reviewing” its options for two TV projects it has been developing with The Weinstein Company, including a drama series from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and another from American Hustle director David O. Russell. “The team is moving as quickly as possible to close on a resolution,” the memo said.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote that, despite some award-winning films and TV series, Amazon Studios has yet to develop a breakout original hit in the vein of Netflix’s Stranger Things or Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and that the studio may be in need of a revamped strategy. However, Blackburn finished the memo by expressing his optimism for Amazon’s forthcoming slate of original programming, on which the company reportedly spent $4.5 billion this year.
“I remain incredibly optimistic about the future of Amazon Studios and what we have planned in FY-18 and beyond,” he wrote. “We need to ensure that our focus remains on our customers, and that we are executing on their behalf. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our creators and talent, who are making some of the very best content available on TV and in theaters all over the world.”
Fortune contacted an Amazon spokesperson for comment and we will update this article with any response.