WarnerMedia is investigating claims that Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara promised acting roles in exchange for sex as detailed in The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday.
The article includes text messages between British actress Charlotte Kirk and Tsujihara going back to 2013 when they were introduced by Australian billionaire James Packer at the Hotel Bel Air past midnight. Packer and his business partner Brett Ratner were close to closing a production deal with the studio at the time.
The studio’s parent company was forced to act after the Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy report detailing the history between Tsujihara and British actress Charlotte Kirk. The studio previously investigated the allegations in the fall of 2017 and found no wrongdoing or abuse of power by Tsujihara, who is married.
Kirk issued a statement to the trade paper denying that there was any “inappropriate behavior” on the part of Tsujihara, Ratner or Packer, and she asserted “Kevin never promised me anything.” However, text messages included in the report indicate Kirk later accused Ratner and Packer of using her with Tsujihara to help close the RatPac deal.
The messages suggest a quid pro quo sexual relationship between the aspiring actress and the studio head in which he made promises that he’d introduce her to influential executives and she’d be considered for roles in movies and television. They also show she was determined to hold Tsujihara, Packer and Ratner accountable.
“You’re very busy I know but when we were in that motel having sex u said u would help me and when u just ignore me like you’re doing now it makes me feel used,” Kirk writes in one of the reported texts. “Are u going to help me like u said u would?”
Some messages also imply that Kirk believes that she was used to help close the $450 million co-financing deal for Packer and Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment.
In her statement, Kirk said that there were never any legal settlements or agreements entered into between herself and Ratner in 2016.
“Brett Ratner helped me out of friendship to assist me in getting auditions and trying to help me find an agent, and I have no issues with him or claims against him,” Kirk wrote.
Ratner was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 by multiple women, which he has denied, but led to Warner Bros. cutting ties with him as the studio waited for the RatPac financing deal to expire in March 2018.
A WarnerMedia spokesman emphasized that Kirk has made no claims against Tsujihara or the studio. A source close to the situation said that Tsujihara first brought the issue to the attention of his bosses at Time Warner out of concern about Kirk’s behavior after the alleged sexual relationship ended. Warner Bros. and Time Warner investigated the situation but took no action against the Warner Bros. chief. Tsujihara’s behavior and his stewardship of Warner Bros. was scrutinized again when AT&T acquired the media giant last year.
Rumors of questionable behavior have dogged Tsujihara for more a year, since the #MeToo movement gained steam with the revelations about sexual assault allegations against former Weinstein Co. leader Harvey Weinstein. Tsujihara’s reputation was tarnished by his association with Brett Ratner, the director and film financier who has also been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by multiple women — allegations he has denied. Warner Bros. severed ties with Ratner in November 2017 on the heels of a Los Angeles Times report detailing disturbing allegations from multiple women.
The expose comes two days after AT&T-owned WarnerMedia announced an expanded role for Tsujihara, who is already one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives. He will continue running the movie studio, which he has run since 2013, but is adding a portfolio of kids and young adults businesses, including Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Turner Classic Movies.