After less than a month in the job, Brad Schwartz has exited as chief content officer of Amazon-owned digital audio platform Audible after a two-year-old sexual harassment and gender bias lawsuit resurfaced.
The personnel move was confirmed to Deadline by sources familiar with the situation after Bloomberg initially reported the news. Schwartz was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was dismissed.
The company has made a concerted move in a showbiz direction, setting an array of projects involving A-list stars and creators. But it reconsidered the hire of Schwartz despite his proven track record after questions emerged from employees about details contained in the legal complaint. Amazon as a company is also just a couple of years removed from upheaval in its studio unit, starting in 2017 with the departure of Roy Price amid a welter of sexual harassment claims.
In the sexual harassment suit, which Deadline reported on in February 2018, plaintiff Leslie Isaacs, a former sales exec, made an array of allegations against Schwartz and had damning words for the corporate culture. Schwartz, she said, made demeaning remarks, including approving a press release with the headline, “Pop Puts Out,” over a female executive’s objections. Referring to a female keynote speaker at a national women’s empowerment conference, he also allegedly boasted, “I may or may not have slept with her in college!’”
Schwartz spent seven years at the helm of Pop and its predecessor TV Guide Network, leaving after a series of restructuring moves at ViacomCBS. His achievements at Pop include the acquisition and release of multiple Emmy nominee Schitt’s Creek and the rescue of One Day at a Time from Netflix.
In addition to running Pop, Schwartz previously held executive posts at MSG Media and Bell Media. As an SVP at Fuse (which was formerly owned by MSG), he shepherded shows including Billy on the Street.
Audible did not respond to a request for comment.