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Warner Bros CEO resigns amid accusations of exchanging roles for sex


By Erin Lindsay
19th Mar 2019
Warner Bros CEO resigns amid accusations of exchanging roles for sex

Kevin Tsujihara, chief executive of Warner Bros, has resigned after being accused of trying to secure roles for an actress that he allegedly had an affair with.

Tsujihara was accused of having an affair with the actress Charlotte Kirk, and using his position as CEO to secure film and TV roles for her.

Earlier this month, the Hollywood Reporter published a piece detailing the accusations, including text messages between Tsujihara and Kirk. The text messages reportedly detailed how Tsujihara would arrange for Kirk to meet with studio executives on Warner Bros. film and TV projects, which is unusual for the CEO to do. One text message from Kirk read: “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?” Tsujihara responded: “Sorry you feel that way. Richard will be reaching out to u tonight.” Other texts reportedly clarify that ‘Richard’ is Richard Brener, then president of production at Warners’ New Line label.

Related: Emma Thompson issues letter detailing why she won’t work with alleged sexual harasser John Lasseter

According to Reuters, Tsujihara addressed his resignation in a letter to staff on Monday, but did not refer to the allegations against him. He wrote: “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 organisation is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing.”

Related: One year since Weinstein: How the world has changed

The investigation

Warner Bros’ parent company WarnerMedia is conducting an investigation into the allegations. John Stankey, chief executive of WarnerMedia, said that it was “in the best interest” of the firm that Mr Tsujihara steps down, and that “Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations.”

The company said that “it is working with a third party law firm to complete its investigation with Mr Tsujihara’s cooperation”, but has not named a successor for Tsujihara, who has headed the studio since 2013.


Featured image: Flickr