In addition to all of the shenanigans we’ve seen so far this year, there has also been another, different, deeper level of accountability when it comes to White people in positions of authority.
We saw it in ABC’s decision to fire Roseanne after she likened Valerie Jarrett to an ape. We’ve seen in the White people who lost their jobs after they threatened and called the police unnecessarily on minorities who weren’t doing anything but living their lives. We saw it with the Netflix’s decision to fire their longtime PR executive after he used the N-word on more than one occasion.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the lesson is: “Watch your mouth.” Still, there are some folks who manage to keep putting their foot in theirs.
The most recent example is Paramount Television’s former President Amy Powell. The company recently decided to fire Powell after she made so racially inappropriate and insensitive comments about Black women.
According to Variety, last week, during a call to discuss “The First Wives Club,” a series adaptation of the 1996 film—with a diverse cast, Powell made disparaging remarks about Black people during what was described as a “lengthy rant.” One source told Variety, that Powell “made statements about Black women being angry for various reasons.”
An African American assistant to another Paramount executive happened to be on the call and reported Powell’s comments to other leaders in the company. Sources claimed that Powell was irritated by a June 28 tweet from “First Wives” showrunner Tracy Oliver.
Oliver, who was also one of the screenwriters for Girls Trip, was not present for the conference call when Powell made her comments. When Powell was confronted with the reports of her behavior, she vehemently denied making racially charged statements. And since the news of her termination has made it to the media, she released this statement:
“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.”
But based on conversations with other people on the conference call, Paramount decided to terminate Powell after she’d spent the past five years heading the studio’s television series production business.
In a memo sent out to the company yesterday, Paramount Pictures chairman Jim Gianopulos wrote:
Last week, multiple individuals came to us to raise concerns around comments made by Amy Powell in a professional setting, which they believed were inconsistent with our company’s values. Having spent the past several days conducting a thorough investigation into this matter and speaking to those who were present, our Human Resources and Legal teams came to the same conclusion, and we have made the decision to terminate Amy’s employment, effective immediately.
Amy has made lasting contributions to Paramount in her 14 years with the company, including building a world-class team at Paramount TV. 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.
We will begin immediately looking for Amy’s replacement. In the interim, Andrew Gumpert, Paramount’s Chief Operating Officer, will provide operational support and Mireille Soria, Brian Robbins and Wyck Godfrey — Presidents of Paramount Animation, Paramount Players and Paramount Motion Picture Group, respectively — will provide creative input, where needed, to the incredibly talented Paramount TV team, which is very well-placed to continue the incredible growth of this division.
Importantly, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the type of company and culture we’re committed to building at Paramount. It’s one of inclusion, honesty and accountability – where diversity is critical to ensuring that all ideas, backgrounds and perspectives are embraced and respected.
We will continue this conversation in smaller groups and on a companywide scale in the coming months and, in the meantime, I want us to take stock of where we are and explore what more we can do to foster a safe, supportive and inclusive workplace. Through direct engagement and an open dialogue, my hope is that we can undertake this progress together, in an environment where each and every one of our employees feels heard and valued.
Thank you for your continued hard work and ongoing contributions to this effort.
Another one bites the dust.
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