Open Letter to Roy Price, Amazon Dot Com
I just had the great pleasure of watching the best Amazon series I’ve seen to date: Good Girls Revolt. It was released on October 28, right at the start of the busy holiday season with no promotion that I saw, unlike others you have released to significant fanfare. It just quietly showed up in the listings. Intrigued, I turned it on and was hooked instantly.
I commend Sony Pictures Television for this excellently produced, written, casted and performed based-on-fact series telling the story of the landmark Newsweek sexual discrimination suits of 1970-72. Though fictionalized, it is an accurate portrayal of the lives of women in newsrooms and indeed workplaces throughout the US. I quickly grew to love these women in the series because I know them. They are my mother and sisters, my coworkers, friends - they are me. Their experiences, both professional and personal, are ours. We live them. Their voices too are ours, screaming from the rooftops at the injustices. These are the voices you want to silence. You don’t like them.
Along with other viewers, I was stunned to learn that you have refused a second season of this critically acclaimed series. A good business decision, Roy? (You have not earned my deference with an honorific title.) I think not. According to Symphony Advanced Media Good Girls Revolt enjoyed greater numbers of viewers than many other Amazon series including twice the viewers of Transparent. You have only to look at the reviews on your own site to see how popular and appreciated it has been among Prime members. But you didn’t like it. You. One guy in a position of power denying women an earned (by metrics that earn other series continuation) platform for further expression. Gee, why does this sound so familiar?
You may have noticed that I don’t use past tense though the series dramatizes events from 1969-70. You think these issues were settled, Roy? You believe that women have achieved equity and no longer suffer harassment, bullying, denied dreams, and worse? Perhaps I can direct you to current news:
- Roger Ailes’ Fox news sexual harassment lawsuit
- Forest Service slammed over sexual harassment and civil rights complaints
- Women in the workforce still earn only 79% of what men earn
- Fewer than 20% of congressional representatives are women
- Women hold only 4.2% of CEO positions in 2016 in Fortune 500 companies
- Over two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies have zero women of color as board directors (much more information here on the lack of women in corporate leadership roles)
- Only workplace harassment? Nope. Social Media Fuels Gender Violence
More? How about the most qualified person ever to run for the office of POTUS who has spent a lifetime in service and preparation, even winning the popular vote by 2.5 million votes. But who gets the job? An illiterate blowhard with no experience who doesn’t even understand how our government works. But he’s a guy. Yeah, business as usual.
I could go on and on and… but you should have the picture if you dared to look past your privileged blinders. See Roy, to me right now you’re That Guy. You’re the congressman sitting at a long table along with other congressmen in 2012, no women at all at the table, holding hearings on women’s health issues while silencing actual women by refusing to allow even a single woman to testify. Are there any women at your table, Roy? Or is “I didn’t like it” alone enough to silence women’s voices?
It’s just a teevee show, you say. What’s the big deal? I should hope that you would know, in your position as head of Amazon Studios, the power of media and programming on our national culture and conversation. Good Girls Revolt isn’t just about the past, it’s about now. Right now. It’s telling a story that needs to be told to new generations for historical perspective and to bring attention in a very real and human way issues that remain painfully current. It’s particularly important right now as our country is preparing to inaugurate to our highest office a self-professed sexual predator who feels “grabbing pussies” is his due.
Don’t be That Guy, Roy. Your decision isn’t just bad optics - and they are real bad - it’s bad business.
Pat Spence, Amazon Prime member (for now)