Amazon has ditched a planned presentation in London of new projects from its Prime Video streaming service next week that was set to be headlined by Roy Price, chief of Amazon Studios. The move follows Amazon’s decision on Thursday to suspend the embattled executive, and to reconsider its commitment to projects being produced by the Weinstein Company.
In a brief statement sent Friday to invitees, who included Europe’s media correspondents and TV industry insiders, Amazon said: “We wanted to let you know that the planned European Prime Video autumn season showcase and party in London next week have been postponed.” No explanation was given. The showcase was to have shown fresh footage from new seasons of existing shows and new series, unveiled new Amazon projects from Europe, and allowed talent such as “The Grand Tour’s” Jeremy Clarkson to promote their shows.
Price’s departure on unpaid leave came amid renewed sexual harassment allegations involving Price and Isa Hackett, an executive producer on Amazon original series “The Man in the High Castle” and the daughter of science-fiction author Philip K. Dick. According to reports, Price allegedly made a lewd joke to Hackett playing off the title of the Amazon series “I Love Dick,” pressured Hackett for sex, and made a crude reference to anal intercourse.
In also follows a dramatic shift in Amazon’s approach to original programming — one that was mandated by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and which rejects the strategy employed for years by Price. Despite traction gained with critics and awards voters, Amazon is in the process of pivoting away from niche, naturalistic scripted series such as “Transparent” and toward broader, larger-scale genre series favored by a large swathe of television viewers — and by Bezos.
The status of Amazon’s two series produced by the Weinstein Company, Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs” and an untitled drama from David O.Russel, remains uncertain. Earlier this week, as accusations of sexual assault and harassment began to engulf TWC founder Harvey Weinstein, Amazon indicated that it would reevaluate its position on the two shows, which had been given series orders under Price. The company’s statement Thursday casts further doubt on the two projects. It stated: “We are reviewing our options for our projects we have with the Weinstein Company.”