A British actress has said she is “deeply saddened” after Warner Bros chief Kevin Tsujihara stepped down amid claims that he promised her roles while they were having an affair.
WarnerMedia launched an investigation earlier this month after a Hollywood Reporter story detailed text messages between Tsujihara and Charlotte Kirk going back to 2013.
The messages suggested a quid pro quo sexual relationship between the aspiring actress and the studio head, in which he made promises that he would introduce her to influential executives and she would be considered for roles in movies and television.
The company has now said Tsujihara’s “mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations”.
And in a memo to Warner Bros staff, Tsujihara said he was departing “after lengthy introspection”.
“It has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success,” he said.
WarnerMedia chief executive John Stankey announced Tsujihara’s exit as chairman and chief executive of Warner Bros, saying his departure was in the studio’s “best interest”.
“Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him,” he said.
“Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations and could impact the company’s ability to execute going forward.”
Kirk, who appeared in Warner Bros’ How To Be Single and Ocean’s 8, told Deadline in a statement: “I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Kevin Tsujihara stepping down at Warners.
“Our relationship ended many years ago. The release of the story by the Hollywood Reporter was nothing to do with me. In fact I tried to prevent it.
“Whatever differences we may have had in the past were long since forgotten. I only wish him the best of success in his future endeavours.”
Kirk has denied any inappropriate behaviour on the part of Tsujihara or two other executives, Brett Ratner and James Packer, with whom she communicated.
“Mr Tsujihara never promised me anything,” she said in an earlier statement.
But details of the leaked text messages immediately put his future at Warner Bros in jeopardy.
Kirk wrote in one 2015 message to him: “Are u going to help me like u said u would?”
Tsujhara responded: “Richard will be reaching out to u tonight”, referring to Richard Brener, president of Warner Bros’ New Line label.
WarnerMedia, the studio’s parent company, said its internal investigation into the situation will continue.