Shadi Petosky, the showrunner for Amazon's Danger & Eggs, told Buzzfeed News that Amazon asked her to stay away from politics on Twitter.
"They said that I needed to tone it down, that I needed to watch it," Petosky explained, adding that the person said her behaviour "wasn't very becoming" of an Amazon showrunner.
Petosky broke this story herself over the weekend when she tweeted at Amazon, asking the company to sever ties with the National Rifle Association's television channel. Following the Parkland shooting in Florida on February 14, many called on video hosting services Amazon, Roku, Google Chromecast, and Apple TV to cut NRA TV from their platforms. The association describes the channel as "your source for the most comprehensive coverage of the Second Amendment and firearms related issues." Petosky retweeted an online petition asking Amazon to cut the channel from its platform.
"Hi @amazon. I am a creator and showrunner for one of your Originals shows. Remember when I started working with you I was asked to curb my politics online and I deleted a bunch of my tweets? That sucked," Petosky wrote. "Your turn. Drop the politics that are killing kids."
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Petosky clarified that when she first started working for Amazon, company executives Aaron Davidson and Melissa Wolf met with her to allegedly ask that she not discuss politics on social media. Davidson and Wolf allegedly referred to a tweet of Petosky's about using proper gender pronouns. (Petosky is transgender.) Petosky also claims the executives also brought up a series of tweets about the Transportation Security Administration, a political rant that went viral. In 2015, Petosky missed her flight due to an invasive screening during which she was told to "get back in the machine as a man or it [would be] a problem." Petosky was held in a screening room for 40 minutes and missed her flight. In a statement provided to the New York Times, the T.S.A. insisted that the agents on duty followed T.S.A. guidelines.
In the meeting, Petosky said Wolf compared her tweets to sharing "pro-Trump messages," and suggested that Petosky delete the tweets.
"It was a very condescending meeting, but I wanted to play ball, and I wanted to be a good showrunner, so I went with it," Petosky told Buzzfeed. The tweets about the T.S.A. have since been deleted.
Petosky's tale comes at a time when celebrities are increasingly getting "political" on social media. Jennifer Lawrence, the country's highest paid actress, told Vanity Fair that she used to stay silent on politics, figuring that she needed people to see her films. ("Twenty-five percent of America identifies as liberal and I need more than 25 percent of America to go see my movies," she said.) Following the 2016 election, Lawrence said, everything changed. Two days ago, she told Stephen Colbert that she works with a charity that educates the public about super PACs. This movement has been met with some opposition. See: Jessica Chastain's revelation that a "well-known actor" emailed her in October telling her to "calm down" with her tweets about Harvey Weinstein. Politics invites controversy, and controversy, it can seem, is anathema to Hollywood executives.
Amazon has yet to respond to requests that it sever ties with NRA television. Thus far, Roku is the only company to have responded. The company stated that it would keep NRA TV on its platform, citing a need to represent "a wide range of topics and viewpoints."
Refinery29 has reached out to Amazon studios for comment.
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