WarnerMedia has launched an investigation into claims that Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara improperly advanced an actress with whom he was having an affair.
According to hundreds of text messages between Tsujihara, actress Charlotte Kirk, director/producer Brett Ratner, and Australian billionaire James Packer, it seems Tsujihara and Kirk met in 2013 through Packer, engaged in an affair. Kirk reportedly pressured Tsujihara to help her get work in Warner Bros. movies and TV shows, and when Kirk felt that she was not getting as many opportunities as she had been promised, Ratner reportedly tried to take initiative to rectify the situation, offering her a written settlement that was never signed.
At the time when they introduced Kirk to Tsujihara, Packer and Ratner were negotiating a $450 million film financing pact with Warner Bros.
After several auditions with Warner, Kirk got two minor roles -- in How to Be Single and Ocean's 8. Ratner told The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the news, that Kirk was a friend and he was only trying to help her get work.
Kirk issued a separate statement claiming that none of the men involved had done anything inappropriate. In the leaked text messages, she apparently accused Ratner and Packer of using her in order to close the WB financing deal for their RatPac production company.
“Kevin never promised me anything,” Kirk said, according to Variety.
The RatPac deal closed, but when it was up for renewal in 2018, Warner Bros. declined to renew it, in large part because Ratner's reputation had been poisoned by previous sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. At least 11 women, including including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused Ratner of a wide variety of offenses, including inappropriate touching and forced oral sex.
Ratner, who had been involved with funding numerous Warner Bros. and New Line movies over the years, parted ways with the studio. The final film produced under the 2013 deal was Rampage. In the home release for Justice League, the RatPac logo was replaced with the Access Entertainment logo. That company had purchased James Packer's stake in RatPac in 2017.
The studio previously investigated the allegations in 2017 and found no wrongdoing or abuse of power by Tsujihara, but the latest cache of messages may provide new insight to the events, so a second inquiry is underway.
"Through her spokesperson, the actress has publicly denied any impropriety in her casting, and our prior investigation did not find otherwise," a WarnerMedia rep says 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."
Tsujihara's personal attorney claimed that the CEO had no "direct role" in getting Kirk jobs.
Ratner attorney Marty Singer, who reportedly presented Kirk with the never-signed settlement proposal, said, "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."