Amazon has suspended a top executive after a lesbian producer claimed he made lewd remarks and pressured her for sex. In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said Amazon Studios head Roy Price “is on leave of absence effective immediately.”
Isa Hackett, an executive producer on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and the daughter of science-fiction legend Philip K. Dick, says she met Price in 2015 while promoting High Castle at San Diego Comic-Con.
Following a dinner for the show’s cast and Amazon execs, she took a taxi to an after-party with him and Amazon VP Michael Paull. En route, Price allegedly propositioned her repeatedly, telling her, “You will love my dick” (a play on the name of the Amazon series I Love Dick).
Hackett fended off his advances, but says he persisted after they arrived at the party. (At one point, Price reportedly shouted “anal sex” in her ear while she was talking to other executives.) Hackett says she told Price she had a wife and children and “made clear” she wasn’t interested.
She described the run in as “shocking and surreal.”
Though she told multiple colleagues immediately after, Hackett hasn’t discussed the encounter publicly until now. She was inspired, she explained, by the women coming forward about Harvey Weinstein.
“Having power and influence is such a huge responsibility,” Hackett told The Hollywood Reporter. “As somebody with some power, I feel it is imperative for me to speak out. I want to call out [Price’s] behavior and also hold myself to a certain standard. It’s difficult because of the fact that I have two shows and I love those shows and I value my experience at Amazon. But this incident has been looming and it’s difficult to shake it. I didn’t want the details to come out previously because I didn’t want to distract or deflate the energies of all the people who are so invested in these shows, and all of that positivity. You don’t want to bring this into it. It feels demoralizing.”
Hackett says she hasn’t seen Price since the night of their encounter. (An internal investigation into the incident by Amazon reportedly went nowhere.)
“I don’t feel afraid of him,” she tells THR, “but it’s difficult after you report something because you’re carrying this anxiety about how to interact with somebody if and when you do see them” she explained. “You’re aware that other people may or may not know about it. It’s in the back of your mind. It’s a dark experience that’s sitting there.”
This isn’t the first time allegations have been levied at Price, say insiders. Hackett’s revelations came just hours after actress Rose McGowan accused him of sabotaging a series she was developing with Amazon.
On Twitter, McGowan claimed she spoke with Price about being sexually assaulted by Weinstein and advised him not to bail out Weinstein’s production company. But after insisting her rape claims weren’t credible, she says, he had her project with the streaming service killed.
“I told the head of your studio that [Weinstein] raped me,” McGowan tweeted at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “Over & over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof.” (Shortly after tweeting her allegations, McGowan’s Twitter account was suspended.)
While sexual harassment in Hollywood is dominating headlines this week, it’s not clear what will change things in the long run. The only hope, Hackett says, is to change who holds the power in show business.
“There’s a culture of harassment [in Hollywood] and we need an infusion of new and diverse leadership, not just including women but gay people, people of color, people with disabilities—people with the full spectrum of life experience.”