The head of Warner Bros. is stepping down after reports surfaced claiming that he promised a British actress film roles in exchange for sex.
Kevin Tsujihara quietly handed in his resignation on Monday after a probe was launched into his relationship with Charlotte Kirk.
‘It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.,’ said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey on Monday.
‘Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him. Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations and could impact the company’s ability to execute going forward.’
His exit comes on the heels of Kirk, 26, admitting that she did in fact have an intimate relationship with the 54-year-old studio boss to The Mail on Sunday, saying the affair began back in 2014 after a night of drinking martinis.
Scroll down for video
And now he is gone: Kevin Tsujihara (above) quietly handed in his resignation on Monday after a probe was launched into his relationship with Charlotte Kirk
Opening up: ‘Kevin might have thought I was on his casting couch but my sense of self-worth is such that I thought I was just having sex with a man I fancied,’ Kirk told The Mail on Sunday
The Hollywood Reporter broke the story earlier this month that Tsujihara and Kirk had exchanged text messages as far back as 2014 which suggested he would help the struggling actress land roles at the same time they were involved in a sexual relationship.
In 2016 she appeared in the film How to Be Single, and two years later popped up in the hotly anticipated Ocean’s 8.
A lawyer for the out-of-work studio chief said at that time: ‘Mr. Tsujihara had no direct role in the hiring of this actress.’
Meanwhile, Kirk told The Mail on Sunday that she at no point sought any favors from Tsujihara because they were having a sexual relationship.
‘It was not casting-couch sex,’ said Kirk.
No victim: ‘Whatever work I got from an audition would be on my own professional acting ability and merit,’ said Kirk
‘Kevin might have thought I was on his casting couch but my sense of self-worth is such that I thought I was just having sex with a man I fancied. Like any normal women, I kept on good terms and in touch afterwards.’
She then explained how every relationship in Hollywood could be deemed transaction in some sense.
‘Hollywood pivots on helpful friends. You can talk to someone differently after you have been intimate with them. There is a connection,’ said Kirk.
‘You don’t say, “Get me a role,” but you expect openness and honesty when you have been lovers and you expect them to be there for you as a friend. In my case, that meant him potentially directing me towards auditions, helping me get into the room.’
She then made it clear that she earned every role she got after her on hard work, not because of Tsujihara
‘Whatever work I got from an audition would be on my own professional acting ability and merit,’ declared the actress.
Happy couple: Tsujihara, 54, is married with a child while Kirk was 21 when the relationship began in 2014 she told The Mail on Sunday (Tsujihara and his wife above)
Tsujihara informed staff he would be leaving in a memo on Monday, writing in part: ‘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.’
This comes just two weeks after Tsujihara was given an expanded role at the company following the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T.
He joined the company in 1994 and became the first person of Asian descent to head up a major studio with his promotion back in 2013.
Warner bros has thrived in recent years under him with successes including Wonder Women and Aquaman.