The first Asian American CEO of a major Hollywood studio is in some heat as he’s caught up in a sex scandal. Kevin Tsujihara, 54, the CEO of Warner Bros Entertainment, is being investigated for an alleged sexual relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk, where he promised her roles in movies and television shows. The relationship spiraled out of control that resulted in a “desperate struggle” between Tsujihara, director Brett Ratner, and billionaire James Packer, to keep Kirk happy, reports The Hollywood Reporter. All four deny any inappropriate conduct.
James Packer met Charlotte Kirk through Ratner in 2012. She was 20 years old at the time while Packer was 45. The two started a relationship but when she met Kevin Tsujihara, her attention shifted.
On September 27, 2013, James Packer who was a partner in Brett Ratner’s production company, “RatPac Entertainment” texted Charlotte Kirk to come over to the Hotel Bel Air. He said that he had an “opportunity of a lifetime” for the then 21-year-old wannabe actress. He promised her that she would meet the “most important man” for her career. This was the beginning of Kirk’s and Tsujihara’s alleged relationship that would dovetail into Brett Ratner accusing Kirk of attempted “extortion.”
After her first meeting with Tsujihara, she texted Packer, “His [sic] not very nice! Very pushy!! He just wants to f**k nothing else does not even want to say anything!”
During this time, Packer and Ratner secured a $450 million dollar deal with Warner Bros for their RatPac production company.
Tsujihara and Kirk got friendlier with each other. On February 2014 she asked how a screening went to which Tsujihara replied, “It was good, but I would rather have watched ur music video on loop for a night…”
Charlotte Kirk replied that he made him “blush” then went on to ask about some upcoming roles. He responded he needed to be “careful” because he didn’t make those decisions. The two continued to text each other back and forth with Kirk continuing to ask him for roles, and Tsujihara promising her that he would try. She became more demanding as the relationship progressed. On one such occasion, she said, “Please make sure that Richard accepts or returns my agent’s calls – as he requested – so that I can get the help you promised me before luring me to that motel to have sex with you.” She was not happy with the minor role she secured. “Kevin? A two-liner?? U have got to be kidding me!!” she texted.
During this time it seems that Tsujihara cut off communication with Kirk, and Ratner tried to take mediate the situation. The two texted each other with Kirk asking Ratner to get her roles. Ratner ended up giving her a contract for future auditions and a role in a movie he was going to direct. She didn’t sign the contract and the two continued to exchange texts. “You’re the one who wanted me to sign an agreement. Sending me on auditions is a step in the right direction but until it translates into what Kevin promised me then the issues remain unresolved,” she said.
The relationship became more hostile between Ratner and Kirk, with Ratner calling her “entitled and despicable.” She replied, “Acting entitled is exactly how Kevin behaved with me, so let’s not go there.”
Charlotte Kirk ending up accusing Ratner and Packer of using her to secure the Warner Bros, RatPac deal. She texted Packer that, “putting me in one of your many movies shouldn’t be a big deal. I did help u out with Kevin which was hard for me but I did it for you.”
She texted Ratner that she felt she had been, “used as the icing on the cake for your finance deal with Warner Bros. It’s gross what you all did this to me!!!”
Charlotte Kirk would deny to THR that she had anything to do with the deal, “I also deny that I had any connection to the Warners Bros/Rat-Pac slate-financing deal. I had nothing to do whatsoever with closing the transaction, directly or indirectly.”
The texts would continue with Kirk asking for roles and Ratner telling her he would do his best. There were threats of lawyers getting involved and accusations that Kirk had been paid for sex. Ratner warned her, “…what you are doing is extortion u have committed because u have sent text and emails asking for these auditions and jobs.” She replied back that she wasn’t extorting anyone. She kept badgering him and Tsujihara, to which Ratner texted her, “KT cannot get you jobs or auditions I told u this many times. Stop asking… it’s up to the directors and producers…If you are going to be f***ing someone for a part it should be a director or producer.”
Brett Ratner and Charlotte Kirk tried to reach a settlement to put her in movies, but Ratner was hit with multiple allegations of sexual assault from #MeToo, before the deal was settled.
According to his attorney, Marty Singer, Ratner tried to broker a deal where she would have gotten auditions and an appearance in a Ratner directed movie. Ratner said that he wanted to help his friend out but she didn’t end up signing the deal. “Brett Ratner did nothing wrong and had the best intentions. While he offered to help get Ms. Kirk a limited number of auditions, he consistently told her that she would have to earn any job herself,” Singer said in a statement.
Tsujihara’s attorney said, “Mr. Tsujihara had no direct role in the hiring of this actress.”
While Charlotte Kirk told The Hollywood Reporter, “I emphatically deny any inappropriate behaviour on the part of Brett Ratner, James Packer, and Kevin Tsujihara, and I have no claims against any of them.
I confirm that I was in a romantic relationship with James Packer in the summer of 2013 and that I was treated with respect by Mr. Packer, and I have no issues with him or claims against him. I further confirm that when the relationship ended I sought the advice of Mr. Tsujihara whom I had been introduced to by Mr. Packer. Mr. Tsujihara never promised me anything.
I also confirm that 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. I deny that there was any legal settlement or agreement entered into between myself and Brett Ratner in 2016.”
UPDATE – 3-18-2019 – Kevin Tsujihara steps down as CEO of Warner Bros.