LOS ANGELES — Roy Price is exiting Amazon Studios, where he served until recently as president.
The departure from Amazon follows Price’s suspension Oct. 12 from the tech giant’s entertainment division on the heels of renewed sexual harassment allegations. In Price’s absence, Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng was named interim president.
Price joined Amazon in 2004 as the company set out to launch its video-on-demand service. That business has since grown into a vibrant original-series and feature-film studio, with Price at the helm. Under Price, Amazon launched series such as “Catastrophe,” “Bosch,” and Golden Globe winners “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent.”
But while Amazon’s originals has found traction with critics and awards voters, they have not won the broad appeal craved by company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Earlier this year, Bezos mandated a shift in programming strategy away from the niche, naturalistic dramas favored by Price and toward large-scale genre projects with the potential to capture large international audiences.
As part of that strategy,the studio began reallocating some resources already earmarked for other projects, in the process canceling freshman dramas “Z: The Beginning of Everything” and “The Last Tycoon.”
As Amazon Studios began executing on Bezos’ mandate this summer, Price became the subject of sexual harassment allegations first reported on business website The Information in August. Those claims intensified rumors in the creative community that Price may not be long for his job. On Oct. 12, Isa Hackett, an executive producer on Amazon drama “The Man in the High Castle,” went public with claims that Price pressured her for sex, made an obscene joke related to the title of Amazon’s “I Love Dick,” and whispered reference to anal intercourse into her ear as she attempted to carry on a conversation with others. The allegations surfaced as revelations of decades of alleged abuse of women by mogul Harvey Weinstein flooded Hollywood.
That same day, Amazon released a statement saying Price had been placed on a leave of absence.
Four days later, Jill Soloway, Amazon’s most successful showrunner, issued a statement to Variety saying, “We live in a country and world where the systems of power have operated in favor of men, and this is especially true in Hollywood. The egregious and heinous behavior of those who perform, perpetuate, or passively condone acts of harassment or assault is one of the worst manifestations of this patriarchal system. Our production company TOPPLE was founded on the belief that women, people of color, queer people, and their allies can use the power of story and voice to change the world. I strongly support the brave individuals who have found the strength to speak their truth to expose and condemn this immorality.”