October 25, 2017
Roy Price, accused of sexual harassment in 2015, has finally left Amazon, under intense pressure
by Stephanie DeLuca
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, a number of men employed in media and other high-profile jobs have been accused of sexual harassment, and have resigned, been fired, or lost crucial support. Terry Richardson. James Toback. John Besh. Bob Weinstein. Larry Nassar. The list goes on. Over at Newsweek, Anna Menta has published an article about all the men accused of sexual harassment since the elder Weinstein; by the time you read this, it may very well be outdated.
One name on that list: Roy Price, the former head of Amazon Studios. As we wrote earlier this month, Price has come under fire for failing to respond when actress Rose McGowan told him that Weinstein had raped her, and has since resigned in the wake of sexual harassment accusations from Isa Dick Hackett, daughter of Last Interview Series participant Philip K. Dick, and executive producer of Amazon’s adaptation of Dick’s The Man In The High Castle. Hackett spoke with Kim Masters at the Hollywood Reporter, alleging that after a day promoting the show at San Diego Comic Con, Price “repeatedly and insistently propositioned her… Hackett says she made clear to Price she was not interested and told him that she is a lesbian with a wife and children.”
Hackett says she immediately reported the incident to Amazon. Masters writes that “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.”
It wasn’t until Hackett’s interview with the Reporter went live that Amazon decided to act. Masters reports, “Hours after the initial publication of this story, Amazon suspended the exec, saying ‘Ray Price is on leave of absence effective immediately.’” About a week later, Price resigned.
Hackett told Masters that the women who spoke out against Weinstein had inspired her to take her story about Price public. And look what happened — Amazon was forced to acknowledge and act on it, and Price resigned.
Of course, in an ideal world, Amazon would have done those things back in 2015 when Hackett first reported the harassment. Obviously we aren’t living anywhere close to an ideal world, but people like Hackett and others speaking out against those who harass them, as well as their allies, are trying to move us in that direction.
One thing that may combat this kind of harassment is to have more women in leadership roles. According to rumors published at Deadline, Price’s replacement will likely be a woman. There’s still more than plenty to fix over at Amazon, but I guess this is a start.
In the Washington Post, Elahe Izadi notes that Price is the executive who was responsible (with, reportedly, no input from women) for canceling the beloved show Good Girls Revolt, about forty-six women who together sued Newsweek for sexual discrimination in 1970. The show, inspired by Lynn Povich’s memoir, received generally positive reviews. With Price’s departure, fans have been calling for Amazon to reinstate it. It could be a small but meaningful rebuke to all those Hollywood men who said they had “no clue” this sort of harassment was so prevalent. I’m looking at you, Matt Damon.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.