WarnerMedia confirms it is reopening an investigation over questions of whether Warner Bros Entertainment chairman Kevin Tsujihara engaged in improper behavior by engaging in an extramarital relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and then attempting to help her gain a foothold with roles in Warner Bros films.
This follows a detailed story in THR that made the allegations, accompanied by a litany of tawdry texts dating back to 2013 and involving the likes of James Packer and Brett Ratner. Rumors of all this have floated around for the past year and those texts were viewed by every trade, including Deadline.
None of these stories is an easy decision, and this one took guts. Deadline just couldn’t get past the adamant denials of the actress, and didn’t publish. At the time our reporter spoke with Kirk, she hung up the phone, more than once. Threats of lawsuits from her attorney followed. People often threaten to sue, but there is dubious precedent here in #MeToo era investigative stories. Most were driven by alleged victims telling their stories of abuse. It is new ground to publish a story against the expressed wishes and vehement denials of a possible alleged victim, which puts a publication in a position of re-victimizing a possible victim.
This comes at a time when Tsujihara is poised to be a significant part of the leadership structure in the the reorganization of the studio under AT&T. The corporation has already looked into the matter, after a volley of calls from journalists, but they are going to take another look following the publication of the article. Tsujihara will continue to do his job, and isn’t being shelved while the investigation is conducted as happened with Les Moonves at CBS before he was removed after numerous other woman came forward after a first story by The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow.
A WarnerMedia spokesperson said: “Through her spokesperson, the actress has publicly denied any impropriety in her casting, and our prior investigation did not find otherwise. Whenever we receive new allegations, it is our standard practice to conduct an appropriate investigation. And that is what we will do here.”
Said Tsujihara’s personal attorney: “Mr. Tsujihara did not have a direct role in the actress being cast in any movie.”