Paramount TV chief Amy Powell fired over racially insensitive comments, denies allegations

FP Staff

July 20, 2018 11:25:20 IST

Paramount says it has fired the head of its television division for making unspecified comments that drew complaints from employees.

Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos wrote in a memo circulated on Thursday that Amy Powell had been fired for making comments that were “inconsistent with company values.” The memo did not elaborate on the nature of the statements or where they were made, beyond stating they were said in a “professional setting.”

The memo said numerous employees complained about Powell’s behavior, and the decision to fire her was made in agreement with the company’s legal and human resources departments.

Paramount TV President Amy Powell. Image via Twitter // @UCLAAnderson

Paramount TV President Amy Powell. Image via Twitter / @UCLAAnderson

However, within a few hours after this news broke, Powell issued a statement dismissing the claims. “There is no truth to the allegation that I made insensitive comments in a professional setting — or in any setting,” she said. “The facts will come out and I will be vindicated.”

In a report published by Variety, 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 28 June 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.

According to sources, Powell is exploring possible legal action against Paramount over her termination. Meanwhile, Paramount TV will be headed by COO Andrew Gumpert.

(with inputs from The Associated Press)

Updated Date: Jul 20, 2018 11:25 AM