Warner Bros. CEO and chairman Kevin Tsujihara has stepped down amid an investigation into his relationship with actor Charlotte Kirk.
Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter published a series of leaked text messages starting in 2013 between Tsujihara, Kirk, and Brett Ratner and James Packer, which alleged the married Tsujihara, 54, had a sexual relationship with the then-21-year-old Kirk. On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reports Tsujihara sent a memo to staffers announcing his resignation, noting that “it has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.”
Kirk has stressed that her relationship with Tsujihara was consensual, but the leaked text messages suggest that she had been pushing Tsujihara to help her get cast in Warner Bros. films.
AT&T, which owns Warner Bros. parent company WarnerMedia, is reportedly investigating the allegations in The Hollywood Reporter’s piece. Last week, WSJ says Tsujihara sent a memo to staffers apologizing for the “mistakes in my personal life that have caused pain and embarrassment to the people I love the most. I also deeply regret that these personal actions have caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you.”
Kirk issued a statement on Monday, following news of Tsujihara’s departure:
I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Kevin Tsujihara stepping down at Warners. Our relationship ended many years ago. The release of the story by The Hollywood Reporter was nothing to do with me. In fact I tried to prevent it. Whatever differences we may have had in the past were long since forgotten. I only wish him the best of success in his future endeavors.
WarnerMedia has not yet picked a replacement for Tsujihara, though Deadline reports that the company will announce an interim leadership group on Tuesday.