WarnerMedia said on Wednesday that it would further investigate ties between Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and actress Charlotte Kirk after The Hollywood Reporter published what it said were texts between them indicating a sexual relationship and that she asked him to help with her career.
The story comes at a critical juncture for Tsujihara, who is set to take on a larger role at WarnerMedia following AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Tsujihara and Kirk both deny any wrongdoing.
“Through her spokesperson, the actress has publicly denied any impropriety in her casting, and our prior investigation did not find otherwise,” a WarnerMedia spokesman said in a statement. “Whenever we receive new allegations, it is our standard practice to conduct an appropriate investigation. And that is what we will do here.”
Warner Bros. first investigated whether there was any impropriety in Kirk’s casting in 2017 at the request of Tsujihara, according to an individual with knowledge of the investigation. The company looked into whether Kirk unfairly got roles in films because of a relationship with Tsujihara.
THR reported that billionaire James Packer introduced Tsujihara and Kirk in 2013, when she was 21. The site said an “increasingly desperate struggle” ensued among Tsujihara, Packer and director Brett Rather to “manage Kirk’s urgent demands to be cast in movies and TV series.” THR said Ratner at one point accused her of “extortion.”
“I emphatically deny any inappropriate behavior 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,” Kirk said in a statement to THR. “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.”
Warner Bros. in 2013 entered into a $450 million co-financing deal with RatPac, then run by Ratner and Packer. The production company was responsible for underwriting much of the studio’s film slate, but Warner Bros. severed its relationship with RatPac and Ratner in 2017 in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the “Rush Hour” filmmaker.
Since meeting Tsujihara in 2013, Kirk has appeared in two Warner Bros. films: “Ocean’s 8” and “How to Be Single.”
THR published what it said was a March 3, 2015 text in which Kirk texted Tsujihara: “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?”
The site said Tsujihara responded: “Sorry you feel that way. Richard will be reaching out to u tonight.” That was a reference to Richard Brener, who was then president of production at Warners’ New Line.
THR’s story said there was no indication he was aware of any relationship between the actress and Tsujihara, and that Brener declined to comment through a WarnerMedia rep.