NBCUniversal Vice Chair Ron Meyer Exits After Extortion Attempt Over ‘Brief and Consensual Affair’

Meyer, who worked at the company for 25 years, says individuals threatened to “falsely implicate” NBCUniversal

Last Updated: August 18, 2020 @ 7:42 PM

Ron Meyer is stepping down as vice chairman of NBCUniversal after he disclosed that an unnamed individual tried to “extort” him and “falsely implicate” NBCUniversal in the wake of a “consensual” extramarital affair with a woman eight years ago.

According to multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation, Meyer had a relationship with British actress Charlotte Kirk — whose later affair with Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara between 2013 and 2014 led to his own ouster last year.

Meyer had reached a financial settlement with Kirk for an undisclosed an amount, but an insider told TheWrap that a third party was trying to extort Meyer and force him to disclose the settlement to NBCUniversal. In his own statement, Meyer said, “Other parties learned of the settlement and have continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money or else they intended to falsely implicate NBCUniversal, which had nothing to do with this matter.”

Meyer and NBCUniversal declined to comment, while a representative for Kirk did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

NBCU CEO Jeff Shell announced Meyer’s abrupt departure on Tuesday. “Late last week Ron Meyer informed NBCUniversal that he had acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or values,” Shell told employees. “Based on Ron’s disclosure of these actions, we have mutually concluded that Ron should leave the company, effective immediately. We thank Ron for his 25 years of service, and for his significant contributions to NBCUniversal.”

Meyer’s departure ends a more than two-decade tenure with the company, most of which came as president and COO of Universal Studios, which he ran from 1995 until 2013. He had been vice chairman of NBCU for the last seven years. Meyer is also known as one of the founders of powerhouse talent agency CAA.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure from NBCUniversal. I recently disclosed to my family and the company that I made a settlement, under threat, with a woman outside the company who had made false accusations against me.  Admittedly, this is a woman I had a very brief and consensual affair with many years ago,” Meyer said in a statement of his own.

“I made this disclosure because other parties learned of the settlement and have continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money or else they intended to falsely implicate NBCUniversal, which had nothing to do with this matter, and to publish false allegations about me. After I disclosed this matter to the company, we mutually decided that I should step down from my role as Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal. I’ve spent 25 years helping to grow and support an incredible company in a job I love. It is the people at this company that I will miss the most. I regret what has happened and I am sorry for all the people in my life I may have let down, especially and most importantly, my family.”

Meyer, who is 75, was married to Kelly Chapman Meyer for 25 years, from 1993 until their divorce in 2018. He has four children, two from that marriage and two from an earlier marriage to Ellen Meyer.

It is not clear if Meyer’s position will be filled. His exit comes two weeks after Shell ousted NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy amid an investigation in several accusations of racism and toxic behavior on his watch. Telegdy’s departure was part of a broader restructuring that saw Francis Berwick take over the company’s business strategy for all of the entertainment side, while merging the broadcast and cable networks together. NBCU is looking for an executive to lead content development.

Last week, Mark Lazarus, who serves as NBCU’s chairman of television and streaming, said that the company would undergo a “broader culture assessment” in addition to its investigation into Telegdy’s behavior.