Warner Bros. announced on Monday that company chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara will leave the company amid allegations that Tsujihara used his position to secure roles and auditions for actress Charlotte Kirk, with whom he had been in a sexual relationship with.
"After lengthy introspection, and discussions with [WarnerMedia chief] 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", he wrote in a letter to staff. The scandal brings his 25-year career at the studio to an end.
"Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company's leadership expectations and could impact the Company's ability to execute going forward", Stankey said.
Earlier this month, WarnerMedia launched an investigation following a Hollywood Reporter story that detailed text messages between Tsujihara and British actress Charlotte Kirk going back to 2013, when they were introduced by Australian billionaire James Packer at the Hotel Bel Air. CEO after six years.
Of course, Tsujihara's impact is widespread, but in terms of genre films, he was instrumental in the current course of the DC film universe and is also credited with courting J.K. Rowling for the Fantastic Beasts films, so it's clear he's had quite the big role even recently.
Kirk was cast in Warner Bros. films Ocean's 8 and How To Be Single. "I confirm that I was in a romantic relationship with James Packer in the summer of 2013 and that I was treated with respect by Mr. Packer, and I have no issues with him or claims against him", she said.
Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down as Warner Bros.
"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".
But it is seeking to beef up under owner AT&T, which to do so has sought to integrate divisions that were largely siloed under the company's previous incarnation as Time Warner. According to the publication, Kirk and Tsujihara, who is married, were involved in an affair that "devolved into a protracted and increasingly desperate struggle among Tsujihara, Ratner and Packer to manage Kirk's urgent demands to be cast in movies and TV series".
The company said that "it is working with a third party law firm to complete its investigation with Mr Tsujihara's cooperation". In an internal memo, Tsujihara had this to say.
"I love this company and the people that make it so great".
The 54-year-old Tsujihara, the first executive of Asian descent to head a major Hollywood studio, presided over a largely positive Warner Bros. era with little fanfare.