Kevin Tsujihara was the first Asian-American to run a major Hollywood studio after succeeding Barry Meyer as CEO of Warner Media in 2013. Unfortunately, it appears he may have abused his position considerably.
Leaked text conversations show Tsujihara was sexually involved with then 21-year-old British actress Charlotte Kirk in 2013. Kirk had been introduced to Tsujihara through Australian billionaire James Packer. Packer told Kirk via message, “Come to [the Hotel] Bel air now. U will never be able to pay me.” He trumpeted Tsujihara as “the opportunity of a lifetime” for Kirk and “the most important man u can meet.”
As the illicit relationship continued for some time, Kirk became aggravated that she was not being seen in more auditions or receiving more roles.
Kirk eventually angrily contacted Tsujihara, complaining “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. Are u going to help me like u said u would?”
Since the affair began, Kirk obtained at least two supporting roles in Warner films, the 2016 romantic comedy How to Be Single and the 2018 heist movie Ocean’s 8.
The married Tsujihara replied “Sorry you feel that way. Richard [Brener] will be reaching out to u tonight.”
Director Brett Ratner also became involved in trying to meet Kirk’s desires for success.
The situation quickly spiraled out of control for all the men involved. After not booking multiple auditions the trio helped her receive, Kirk would follow up about not receiving more special treatment.
Texts from Ratner to Kirk show him growing increasingly uncomfortable, scolding, “Stop writing Kevin and saying what he told me to do?? I don’t work for him.. That’s insulting to me.“
He added, “I am helping you but your attitude sucks.. As I said, I don’t owe you anything. If anything u owe me for all the money James paid you. A thank you would be nice.”
Kirk threatened that “the shit [is] going to hit the fan” if her casting demands were not met, implying she would out the abuses of power the three men committed.
As negotiations continued to deteriorate, Ratner accused Kirk of extortion, declaring, “Regardless what you are doing is extortion [and] is very illegal in this country.” Elaborating, he also told Kirk, “You can’t take back the extortion u have committed because u have sent text and emails asking for these auditions and jobs.”
At one point, Tsujihara, Ratner, and Packer attempted to negotiate a legal settlement with Kirk, offering her more exclusive auditions and a role in a movie directed or produced by Ratner. In the wake of the #MeToo movement however, Ratner has not directed a single project. No agreement was ever signed.
Avi Lerner of Millennium films also allegedly tried and failed to garner roles for Kirk.
In a long, public statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk denied that any of the three men had done anything improper.
“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.”
Similarly, Tsujihara’s attorney stated “Mr. Tsujihara had no direct role in the hiring of this actress” while Ratner’s lawyer maintains “”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.”
Still, the messages appear to reflect otherwise….
At the time of this article’s writing, Kirk’s Instagram had been flooded with angry posts from people who condemn her behavior. She might want to consider changing her profile quote.