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Paramount Fires President of the Television Division



The President of Viacom Inc. & # 39; s

Paramount television


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Unit was fired on Thursday for inappropriate comments.

Amy Powell, who led the unit for five years, was fired on comments that "did not match our corporate values," said Paramount Pictures Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos in a memo to the studio.

The dismissal came after an investigation by Paramount's Human Resources and Legal Department this week after complaints about Ms. Powell's conduct were made, according to Memo. "It's imperative that we stick to our values ​​and make sure everyone feels safe and at work," said Gianopulos.

While the memo does not disclose what Ms. Powell said, a person familiar with the matter, she said the comments in question are "racial in nature". In particular, she commented on a teleconference in which black women were angry and black children were raised by a single parent.

One caller reported the incident to the staff and was confirmed by others on the call, but Ms. Powell denied that this was the case, the person familiar with the matter said.

The call was in relation to a TV reboot of the movie "The First Wives Club" which Paramount Television produced for its sister cable channel Paramount Network.

Ms. Powell said she could not comment and hung up when she was reached by the Wall Street Journal.

Later, through a spokesperson, Ms. Powell said, "There is no truth in the claim that I have made insensitive comments in a professional environment ̵

1; or any attitude – the facts will come and I will be confirmed." [19659004] The high-profile dismissal is the latest about inappropriate remarks in American companies. John John Schnatter, chairman of Papa John's International, announced his resignation last week after Netflix Inc. fired its communications chief Jonathan Friedland over the same offense last month.

Paramount's TV department is considered a crucial engine for the revival of the studio, which has been fighting in recent years. Once one of the top studios, Paramount had almost given up the television business when his parent, Viacom, split off

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more than a decade ago. In 2013, Paramount returned to the TV business with Ms. Powell at the helm.

While Paramount Television is still a relatively small player compared to Warner Bros. of AT & T Inc., Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox, recently had some production successes, including the Netflix tea drama "13 Reasons Why" and "The Alienist "on TNT.

The news of Ms. Powell's release was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

In his memo, Mr. Gianopulos said the studio would immediately seek out Ms. Powell's successor.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

Published in the printed edition of July 20, 2018 as "Paramount TV's Head Fired Over Remarks".


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