Brow Beat

Head of Warner Bros. Resigns Over Alleged Quid-Pro-Quo Relationship With Actress

SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 11: Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, 
        arrives for a morning session of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Kevin Tsujihara.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Monday, Warner Bros. announced that chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, the first Asian American man to run a major Hollywood Studio, had resigned amidst an investigation into alleged misconduct. The news follows a report in the Hollywood Reporter last week featuring leaked text messages dating back to 2013, allegedly sent between Tsujihara and actress Charlotte Kirk. The messages seem to show Tsujihara offering to help with her career while the two had a sexual relationship.

The report alleges that Tsujihara told Kirk he would put in a word for her at auditions or arrange meetings with executives. Kirk denies that Tsujihara—or Brett Ratner and James Packer, two other executives implicated in the report—behaved inappropriately, claiming that “Mr. Tsujihara never promised me anything.”

In response to inquiries about the relationship in November 2017, Tsujihara denied having a relationship with Kirk. WarnerMedia investigated in September 2018 based on an anonymous tip, but found no evidence of wrongdoing, thought the THR story prompted a new investigation. “I deeply regret that I have made mistakes in my personal life,” Tsujihara wrote at the time of the story’s publication. “I also deeply regret that these personal actions have caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you.”

In a new letter announcing his resignation, Tsujihara wrote that his leadership could be “a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.” His full letter is below.

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past week and a half, I have been reflecting on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company’s future. After lengthy introspection, and discussions with John Stankey over the past week, we have decided that it is in Warner Bros.’ best interest that I step down as Chairman and CEO.

I love this company and the people that make it so great. I’ve been honored to head this organization and work alongside all of its talented employees over the past 25 years. Together we’ve built this studio into an unequivocal leader in the industry.

However, it has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success. The hard work of everyone within our organization is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing.

I am overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and industry partners during this difficult time.

Again, I am so proud of the great work that you do every day to make Warner Bros. the gold standard in our industry. It has been a pleasure to work alongside each and every one of you, and I wish you all the absolute best.

Sincerely,

Kevin