Paramount Television President Amy Powell was fired Thursday for allegedly making racial remarks in a meeting to discuss a TV version of “First Wives Club,” several outlets reported.
Complaints from employees prompted an internal investigation before Paramount Pictures Chairman Jim Gianopulos announced her dismissal in a memo.
“We have made the decision to terminate Amy’s employment, effective immediately,” he wrote, according to Deadline. “While it is incredibly difficult to part ways with a valued member of our community, it is imperative that we uphold our values and ensure that all employees feel safe and included in the workplace.”
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter through a personal representative, Powell said, “There is no truth to the allegation that I made insensitive comments in a professional setting — or in any setting,” and she vowed that she would be vindicated.
An unnamed source told Variety that Powell “made statements about black women being angry for various reasons” during a conference call about “First Wives Club,” an adaptation of the 1996 film. Another executive’s assistant, who is black, was on the line and alerted the studio about Powell’s remarks. A source told The Wrap that Powell’s remarks were “racially charged.”
Variety wrote that Powell, who had been in her post for five years, seemed to be responding to a tweet sent by “First Wives Club” showrunner Tracy Oliver, who is black. Oliver’s message apparently criticized the casting of the show, sources told the showbiz trade outlet. (Oliver was not on the call.)
Paramount and Powell did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.