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Megan Colligan Charges Gender Bias Upon Departure from Paramount Pictures

Colligan: Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV/YouTube

Megan Colligan has exited as Paramount Pictures’ worldwide president of marketing and distribution. And, according to reports from Deadline and Variety, her departure isn’t a run-of-the-mill career change. She has alleged that there is culture of gender bias under new chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.

“Megan had no choice but to leave after enduring a pattern of gender bias and discrimination,” Colligan’s attorney Bryan Freedman told Deadline. “The disparate treatment of women by Paramount is evidenced when you unfold the truth of the exodus of high-level women in recent months. At least four other women have left and we believe that there are more to follow.”

One of the women was worldwide marketing partnerships and licensing prez LeeAnne Stables, who stepped down earlier this month after 12 years at Paramount. Business affairs’ Rona Cosgrove, Evp of creative advertising Amy Mastriona, and Svp of regional publicity Alicia Ramirez Wyld are also among the women exiting the studio.

Colligan revealed that slowly, she was stripped of her responsibilities. In turn, they were assigned to other, mostly male execs. Colligan and her legal team believe the treatment was “a constructive termination” and are filing a lawsuit in response.

“Generally women were treated unequally and roles and responsibilities were taken away from them and provided to other people,” September Rea, Freedman’s law partner, explained, per Variety.

“It’s not one person claiming something. It exists systemically,” added Freedman. “We intend to pursue this legal claim until this systemic problem is remedied.”

There are still several female execs and division execs working at Paramount, including Amy Powell, Television and Digital Entertainment president; Catherine Houser, Evp Human Resources; Mary Daily, International Theatrical Marketing and Worldwide Home Media Entertainment president; and Domestic Marketing co-prez Rebecca Mall. Variety notes that Mireille Soria has been selected to head animation, Elizabeth Raposo has been named prez of production, and Syrinthia Studer has been promoted to head of acquisitions under Gianopulos’ regime.

In any case, Colligan had been with the studio for 11 years and her star seemed to be steadily rising until Gianopulos came on board earlier this year. After serving Paramount for more than a decade, it’s hard to believe Colligan would leave so suddenly unless she felt she had to. And to allege gender discrimination is a Big step, even in the current Hollywood climate. And let’s remember that Gianopulos is old school Hollywood. He ran 21st Century Fox with Tom Rothman until they were removed. Rothman now runs Sony — the boys’ club culture is a systemic problem in Hollywood.

Colligan was named as Paramount’s worldwide president of marketing and distribution in 2014. During her tenure as prez she has handled the marketing/distribution of films like “Arrival,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.”

Megan Colligan Charges Gender Bias Upon Departure from Paramount Pictures was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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