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Paramount exec Amy Powell says she was fired due to sexism, not ‘racially charged’ comments



amy powell paramount
Amy Powell, pictured with
Katy Perry, had been the head of Paramount Television since

Getty / Kevin Winter /

  • Amy Powell, the former head of Paramount Television,
    was fired last week. 
  • A company-wide memo from Paramount CEO
    Jim Gianopulos said the termination was for comments
    Powell made in a call.
  • Gianopulos did not specify what she said, but sources
    told The Hollywood Reporter that it was

    racially charged” commentary on black
  • Powell disputes this explanation. Her lawyers have
    said that part of the reason she was fired was her
  • They said: “The fact that [Paramount] pushed her
    out the door after a spurious two-day ‘investigation’ raises
    serious questions about their real

The former president of Paramount Pictures’ TV division has
claimed that suggestions she was fired for making “racially
charged” comments are false, and that the real motive for her
dismissal could have been her gender.

Amy Powell,
who was dismissed from her position last week
, claimed that
“gender bias” may be at the root of her departure.

Her boss, Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos, told staff in a
company-wide memo that she was being terminated after an internal
investigation found that she made comments in breach of company

He did not specify what the comments were, but unnamed sources
told The Hollywood Reporter that they were “racially charged”
remarks about black people, linked to an upcoming show with a
majority black cast.

Powell disputes this. A statement from her attorney,

again to The Hollywood Reporter
, said: “Paramount’s
ready-fire-aim strategy has nothing to do with promoting
diversity, fostering conversations in and out of the creative
process, or Amy Powell’s actual conduct, which has always been

The statement continued: “Notably, this is not the first
time the Gianopulos regime at Paramount has pushed out a highly
regarded female executive under questionable

Freedman said he is looking into
potential claims of wrongful termination and defamation against

A statement from a Paramount spokesperson denied
that gender had been a factor.

It said: “It’s unfortunate that Mr. Freedman has opted to
employ a baseless gender bias argument during a time when real,
bona fide claims of that nature are being addressed throughout
our industry.

“While we never take the decision to terminate employment
lightly, we are confident in our decision with respect to Ms.

Gianopulos’ memo which announced Powell’s termination said
that “multiple individuals” had complained about comments Powell
made in a “professional setting.” He said an investigation by the
company’s human resources and legal departments concluded that
what she said was “inconsistent with our company’s

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s sources, the comments
came in a call about an upcoming remake of “First Wives Club”
which will have a majority-black cast.

The news outlet described the comments like this:

“Powell’s comments are said to have been racially
insensitive, including references to African-American females
being ‘angry’ over black men dating white women and black men
having ‘mommy issues’ because they are raised by ‘single

Powell has denied making any offensive comment.

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