Fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and rape scandal continued, as Amazon Studios announced that it would be severing ties with The Weinstein Company (TWC). In a statement released Friday evening, the streaming service stated that it “no longer plans on moving forward with the David O’Russell Project. As for Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs, Amazon intends to move forward without the involvement of The Weinstein Company.”
In a joint statement released by O’Russell and series stars Robert DeNiro and Julianne Moore, the trio announced that they were involved in Amazon’s decision and supported it:
“We support Amazon’s decision as In light of recent news and out of respect for all those affected we have decided together that it is best to not move forward with this show.”
While the accusations against Weinstein detailed in investigative reports published by both The New York Times and The New Yorker were more than enough for Amazon to cut ties with the movie executive and his representative company, these two series were particularly problematic for the streaming service. Many look at the close relationship between Amazon Studios head Roy Price and Weinstein as the reason for Amazon green-lighting both big money projects in the first place: The Romanoffs was an eight-episode deal at a cost of $70 million; and Russell’s series is a two-season deal with a price tag of $160 million. Price was recently suspended indefinitely from Amazon as a result of sexual harassment allegations.
Up to this point, TWC’s involvement in both series had been minimal. Though signed on to co-finance both series, the company had yet to come trough with any funding. Currently in production, The Romanoffs has been paid for solely by Amazon Studios, so transitioning financial rights wouldn’t be difficult.
Russell’s DeNiro/Moore series was a smaller question mark for the streaming giant, as production wasn’t set to begin any time soon and Amazon having only signed on for domestic distribution rights (with TWC expected to shop the international distribution rights to other outlets). With the project still in its infancy and little invested in it (coupled with rumored fears that the project would become a budget strain), the decision to cancel the project was an easier one to facilitate in a timely manner.