Paramount TV president fired over 'racially charged' comments she allegedly made in a conference call

  • Amy Powell, head of Paramount Television since 2013, was fired after complaints about something she said in a meeting.
  • Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos announced her dismissal in a company-wide memo on Thursday.
  • He said only that she had said things that were "inconsistent" with company values — but sources told the media that her words were "racially charged."
  • The Hollywood Reporter cited sources saying Powell made generalisations about black women while discussing a TV series with a mostly black cast.
  • Powell had flatly denied the allegation.

Amy Powell, the head of entertainment giant Paramount Pictures' TV division, has been fired over controversial comments she made in a meeting, which allegedly included "racially charged" language.

Powell, who has overseen Paramount TV since 2013, was dismissed after an internal investigation into her alleged comments, prompted by a series of complaints. She has denied the allegations.

Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos announced her dismissal to staff on Thursday in a memo obtained and published by The Hollywood Reporter.

Gianopulos's memo said "multiple individuals" had complained about comments Powell made in a "professional setting". He said an investigation by the company's HR and legal departments concluded that what she said was "inconsistent with our company's values," and serious enough to warrant immediate termination.

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 23: President of Paramount Television Amy Powell attends the Big Brothers Big Sisters of greater Los Angeles' annual Accessories For Success spring scholarship luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on April 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 23: President of Paramount Television Amy Powell attends Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles' annual Accessories for Success spring scholarship luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on April 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 08: President of Paramount Digital Entertainment, Amy Powell and executive producer Jonathan Stern arrive to the premiere of Hulu's 'The Hotwives of Orlando' at the Sherry Lansing Theatre at Paramount Studios on July 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 26: Singer/producer Katy Perry (L) and Paramount Pictures' president of digital entertainment Amy Powell arrive at the premiere of 'Katy Perry: Part Of Me' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on June 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. The premiere also included a special live performance by Katy for the first-ever Pepsi/Billboard Summer Beats series. 'Katy Perry: Part Of Me' will be released by Paramount's Insurge Pictures on July 5, 2012. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 09: Amy Powell, President of Digital Marketing at Paramount Studios, speaks at the 'Marketing Innovation: Finding and Keeping Your Audience,' at the Produced By Conference at Sony Studios on June 9, 2012 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage)
Amy Powell (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***

Gianopulos's memo did not specify what Powell said, or the exact context.

However, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the source of the complaints were racially charged comments she made in a conference call to discuss a comedy series in which most actors are black.

Per the Hollywood Reporter story:

"According to sources, 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.

"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."

Powell has refuted the claims. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, she 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."

Business Insider has contacted Amy Powell and Viacom, Paramount's parent company, for further comment.

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