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Albert Cheng to serve as interim head of Amazon Studios after Roy Price suspension

Albert Cheng to serve as interim head of Amazon Studios after Roy Price suspension
Amazon Studios chief Roy Price, who was suspended Thursday, pictured last year at the company's Santa Monica offices. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Amazon.com has tapped veteran executive Albert Cheng to run Amazon Studios on an interim basis following the abrupt suspension Thursday of studio chief Roy Price.

Cheng has served as chief operating officer of the Santa Monica-based studio since June 2015. Before that, he was chief product officer for digital media at the Disney/ABC Television Group.

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Amazon did not comment publicly on the move, however a person with knowledge of the situation said Cheng would be filling in while the Price review was underway.

Amazon suspended Price Thursday evening after television producer Isa Hackett told the Hollywood Reporter that Price had repeatedly propositioned her and made lewd comments during a promotional tour at Comic-Con in San Diego two years ago. Price has been in charge of Amazon Studios since 2014.

Hackett is the executive producer of "The Man in the High Castle," one of Amazon's higher-profile projects.

"Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately," an Amazon spokesman said late Thursday in a statement.

The rise of internet streaming has made Amazon one of the industry's most desirable television and film studios. The deep pockets of Amazon — and the success of movies such as "Manchester by the Sea" and television shows such as "Transparent" — have added to its cachet.

Albert Cheng, Amazon's chief operating officer, pictured in 2007 when he was an executive at Walt Disney Co.
Albert Cheng, Amazon's chief operating officer, pictured in 2007 when he was an executive at Walt Disney Co. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Hackett, in the interview with the Hollywood Reporter, said she reported the incident to Amazon executives, who then hired an outside investigator. The Price incident was first reported by the website The Information.

Hackett's legal representative, Christopher Tricarico, on Thursday confirmed the matter but said Hackett did not wish to comment further.

Hackett participated in the internal investigation at Amazon Studios but said that she was never told whether the review was concluded or how the incident was resolved, Tricarico said. Hackett followed up with Amazon's human resources department, but was told the findings were confidential, the attorney said.

"It was basically the company line, that they were doing what they needed to do internally but were not at liberty to give any details," Tricarico said.

Earlier, Amazon said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that they "looked closely at this specific concern and addressed it directly with those involved." Several hours later, the company issued the statement saying Price had been suspended.

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