3:53pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Amy Powell and Paramount TV Reach Settlement Over Her Firing
Paramount has reached a settlement with former TV head Amy Powell over her firing in July.
The executive was let go by Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos after she allegedly made racially insensitive comments in the office. Powell later denied that she said anything inflammatory and hired lawyer Bryan Freedman, claiming that the termination was primarily motivated by gender bias.
"The matter has been resolved," a rep for Paramount said Thrusday. Powell's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Sources say that the payout is believed to be in the multimillion-dollar range.
Powell was fired from her job five years after being tapped to lead the newly relaunched Paramount Television banner. In an internal memo from Gianopulos, the studio chief cites "multiple individuals" who raised "concerns around comments" made by Powell in a "professional setting, which they believed were inconsistent" with parent company Viacom's values.
Sources say the inciting incident occurred during a studio notes call for Paramount Network's First Wives Club reboot, and that the comments were racially insensitive. Powell quickly hired legal representation, claiming that the termination was primarily motivated by gender bias on the part of Gianopulos.
"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 impeccable," Powell's attorney Bryan Freedman told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "In Amy’s 14 years at Paramount, the last five building Paramount Television from scratch, there has never been a question about her sensitivity, inclusivity or treatment of others. The fact that they pushed her out the door after a spurious two-day 'investigation' raises serious questions about their real motives.”
Anonymous Content manager and FX vet Nicole Clemens was named Powell’s successor at the studio Wednesday. She begins the role Monday, reporting directly to Gianopulos.
News of Powell's settlement with Paramount was first reported by Variety.