Hollywood Executive Chris Albrecht Was Placed on Leave Amid Allegations He Choked a Colleague While at HBO

A new book sheds light on allegations that Chris Albrecht, a top television executive, assaulted a colleague while at HBO.

A close-up of HBO executive Chris Albrecht speaking at a glass podium while one arm gestures outward.
New assault allegations have surfaced surrounding former HBO executive Chris Albrecht.
Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Chris Albrecht, the president of Legendary Television, has been placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced he choked a colleague during his time as an executive at HBO, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Legendary is the studio behind productions such as Love on Netflix and The Looming Tower on Hulu, as well as movies including Dune and Jurassic World. Albrecht was tapped to lead Legendary Television last year. Though Legendary has not confirmed why Albrecht was placed on administrative leave, the decision comes as allegations about his past behavior have surfaced from a forthcoming book called It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO, by media reporters Felix Gillette and John Koblin.

The book sheds new light on Albrecht’s relationship with Sasha Emerson, a former senior vice president at HBO Independent Productions, according to an early draft reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter. Albrecht, the former chairman and CEO of HBO, allegedly choked Emerson in her office in the summer of 1991, months after the two ended a consensual affair. Emerson detailed the incident to a friend as well as Michael Fuchs, a producer at HBO, but didn’t file a police report. HBO later paid her a settlement of at least $400,000, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2007. Emerson departed HBO the same year she was allegedly assaulted and eventually left the industry to become an interior designer. The book also reports that Albrecht would disparage Emerson in meetings after she had left HBO.

“After more than 30 years an old, flawed story is now being refurbished and recycled for the sake of sales,” Albrecht said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter regarding the incident. “I have sincerely apologized to those whom I offended with disrespect and utterly unacceptable behavior. But that doesn’t sell books or generate media attention. Some things do indeed age well; but bad reporting does not.”

Albrecht, who has been credited as a creative force behind HBO hits such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and The Wire, resigned from the network in 2007 after he was arrested and charged with assaulting a girlfriend in a Las Vegas parking lot.

Hollywood Executive Chris Albrecht Was Placed on Leave Amid Allegations He Choked a Colleague While at HBO