LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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 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.
“Whenever we receive new allegations, it is our standard practice to conduct an appropriate investigation,” a rep for WarnerMedia said in a statement Wednesday. “And that is what we will do here.”
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.
WarnerMedia representatives say a prior investigation did not find impropriety in Kirk’s casting in films like “Ocean’s 8.” She also appeared in the 2016 New Line release “How To Be Single.”
When asked to comment on the allegations, an attorney for Tsujihara would only give a brief statement: “Mr. Tsujihara did not have a direct role in the actress being cast in any movie.”
In her own statement, Kirk denies that any inappropriate behavior occurred with Tsujihara.
“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,” Kirk said in her statement. “Mr. Tsujihara never promised me anything.”
The article describes an escalating situation in which Kirk expressed frustration that she was not getting significant roles or auditions and threatened to involve her attorney. The report said that in response, Ratner helped broker a draft settlement agreement that would guarantee her auditions and a part in one of Ratner’s movies.
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 representative for Ratner did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Coyle reported from New York.