Paramount Fires TV Chief Over Allegations of Insensitive Remarks
(Bloomberg) -- Paramount Television President Amy Powell, the executive behind such shows as “The Alienist” and “13 Reasons Why,” was ousted from the company over allegations that she made racially insensitive remarks.
Jim Gianopulos, head of Paramount Pictures, said in a memo to staff that “multiple individuals came to us to raise concerns around comments made by Amy Powell in a professional setting.” After discussing the remarks with the Viacom Inc. division’s human-resources and legal teams, Paramount “made the decision to terminate Amy’s employment, effective immediately,” he said.
Powell allegedly made the remarks during a discussion about the “First Wives Club” reboot, a project that features a mostly black cast, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The comments came after Powell appeared to be irritated by a tweet from Tracy Oliver, an African-American writer on the project, who complained about the casting process on the show, according to Variety.
Oliver invoked the #MeToo movement, which has focused on harassment against women, asking if it should be applied to race as well.
Powell, who took the helm at Paramount TV in 2013, said on Thursday that there was no truth to the allegations that she made insensitive remarks. She was appointed to run the TV business after shepherding a division that released several successful low-budget horror films.
She becomes the latest high-profile executive to be booted over misconduct in recent months. Netflix Inc.’s chief communications officer left that company in June after using a racial slur in a work setting. Papa John’s International Inc. founder John Schnatter also was ousted from his company after remarks he made on a conference call.
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