Paramount President Fired Amid Allegations of Racially Charged Comments
Amy Powell's five-year run as head of Paramount Studios' television division came to a halt on Thursday.
She was suddenly ousted after an internal investigation of her alleged use of racially charged language, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos announced Powell's dismissal in a memo to staff.
"Having spent the past several days conducting a thorough investigation into this matter and speaking to those who were present, our Human Resources and Legal teams came to the same conclusion, and we have made the decision to terminate Amy's employment, effective immediately," the memo stated.
Powell's immediate release from the company came as a result of an incident that allegedly occurred in June. Fortune reported that Powell became irritated after reading a tweet by Tracy Oliver – the writer slated to work on a reboot of First Wives Club and known for co-writing Girls Trip.
The tweet read: "Had a moment today that REALLY pointed out why we need representation across the board. A black female voice doesn't matter if the decision makers don't understand nor even want to understand what you're saying. Where's the #metoo for race s*** out here?"
Variety quoted an anonymous source as saying, the alleged comments took place during a call about First Wives Club in which other producers and executives were present. Variety also reported that the statements consisted of generalizations regarding black women being angry — which is a common stereotype.
Powell dismissed the claims of wrongdoing. In a statement reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Powell insisted, "There is no truth to the allegation that I made insensitive comments in a professional setting — or in any setting. The facts will come out and I will be vindicated."
A permanent replacement for Powell has not yet been named. For now, "Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert will oversee operational support, while Mireille Soria, Brian Robbins and Wyck Godfrey — presidents of Paramount Animation, Paramount Players and Paramount Motion Picture Group, respectively — will help lead the studio's team," Gianopulos stated in the memo.
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