Amy Powell, who has been president of Paramount Television since 2013, was fired by the company Thursday over alleged inappropriate comments, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.
“The news was announced Thursday via an internal memo from Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos in which he outlined ‘multiple individuals’ who raised ‘concerns around comments’ made by the executive in a ‘professional setting, which they believed were inconsistent’ with Viacom’s values,” THR reports.
The report cites sources saying the comments included racially charged language.
“Sources say the inciting incident occurred during a studio notes call for Paramount Network’s ‘First Wives Club’ reboot, which is being penned by ‘Girls Trip’ co-writer Tracy Oliver and will feature a predominantly black cast,” the story reports.
THR adds: “Powell, who is said to have been a favorite of Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, allegedly made generalizations about black women that struck some on the call as offensive. A complaint was filed to human resources, who with the legal department, investigated the claims and those involved on the notes call. Sources say Paramount considered discipline but decided to fire Powell after she denied the allegations.”
The Gianopulos memo can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link above to THR.
Variety notes that Powell “strongly denies making inappropriate remarks and is understood to be considering legal action.” Paramount reportedly declined to comment beyond the Gianopulos memo.
In a statement quoted by Variety, Powell said: “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.”
Variety adds: “A source close to the situation said Paramount’s investigation found that Powell made statements about black women being angry for various reasons during a conference call about the ‘First Wives’ series with producer Karen Rosenfelt and a handful of others. The group included an African-American assistant to another Paramount TV executive, who complained to studio leaders about Powell’s comments. Sources noted that Powell had appeared to have been irritated by a tweet sent June 28 by ‘First Wives’ showrunner Tracy Oliver, who is African-American, criticizing the casting process on the show. Oliver was not a participant on the call.”
Oliver’s tweet can be seen below …