Harvey Weinstein, Amazon Studios chief both resign over harassment reports

October 18, 2017 - 7:49 AM
Harvey Weinstein and Roy Price. (Photos by Reuters)

Harvey Weinstein and Amazon Studios chief Roy Price both resigned from their companies on Tuesday over allegations of sexual misconduct.

The board of The Weinstein Company announced Weinstein’s resignation as the Oscar-winning producer faces allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over three decades in the film business.

In a statement, the board said it also ratified its Oct. 8 decision to fire Weinstein as chief executive of the movie and television company he co-founded with his brother.

A spokeswoman for Amazon Studios said Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress’s allegation of sexual assault by Weinstein.

Price took a leave of absence last week and Albert Cheng, the studio’s chief operating officer, remains interim head of the division, the spokeswoman said.

Price did not immediately return a request for comment.

Price’s move came after many women have shared their experiences of mistreatment on social media using the hashtag #MeToo, in the wake of allegations of harassment against movie producer Harvey Weinstein in reports this month by the New York Times and the New Yorker.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

The Hollywood Reporter last week reported an allegation by Isa Hackett, a producer on one of Amazon.com Inc’s shows, that Price had lewdly propositioned her in 2015. Reuters could not independently confirm the allegation.

The accusations against Price represented a rare scandal for the online retailer.

“This is a necessary move because of the sexual harassment allegation, but I think it’s a convenient excuse to replace him,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Amazon fared poorly for its original TV shows at last month’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Pachter said the company has appealed to elite, liberal tastes with its original TV lineup but has lacked “content that has mass appeal.”

Amazon did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Amazon is investing some $4.5 billion this year on video content. The company has said it hopes original shows will encourage people to sign up for its streaming and shopping club Prime.

The Weinstein Co is now trying to chart a future without Weinstein, the aggressive dealmaker with a talent for managing Hollywood talent, money and egos. On Monday, it said it was in talks to sell the bulk of its assets to private equity firm Colony Capital.

One of Hollywood’s most influential forces since launching in October 2005, The Weinstein Co has produced and distributed films including “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Its TWC Television unit produces the long-running reality series “Project Runway.”

Weinstein is credited with conceiving the strategy that scored dozens of Oscar awards for the company’s films.