WarnerMedia announced on Monday that Kevin Tsujihara will step down as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment amid sexual misconduct allegations.
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“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.,” WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said in a statement.
“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.”
The news comes more than a week after WarnerMedia said it was investigating claims that Tsujihara promised acting roles to a young actress in exchange for sexual favors.
The accusations are detailed in an explosive report by The Hollywood Reporter, posted earlier this month, that includes text messages between British actress Charlotte Kirk and Tsujihara which date back to 2013.
The report alleged they were first introduced by Australian billionaire James Packer, who was closing a production deal with Warner Bros at the time.
According to the text messages, Tsujihara said he planned to arrange for Kirk to meet with studio executives for various TV and film projects.
However on March 3, 2015, a seemingly frustrated Kirk texted him back and said, “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 later responded by saying, "Sorry you feel that way. Richard will be reaching out to u tonight."
At the time, Richard Brener was the president of production at Warners' New Line Label. The report, however, noted that there was no indication that Brener was aware of any relationship between Kirk and Tsujihara.
What's more, the report goes on to imply that Kirk believes she was used to help close a $450 million co-financing deal for Packer and Brett Ratner's RatPac Entertainment at the time.
A rep for WarnerMedia told FOX Business last week that both Tsujihara and Kirk denied impropriety, but that the company would still conduct an appropriate investigation.
Tsujihara's attorney, Bert Deixler, added that "Mr. Tsujijara did not have a direct role in the actress being cast in any movie." Kirk also released a statement "emphatically denying" that any inappropriate behavior occurred.
WarnerMedia also said Monday that it is continuing to work with a third-party law firm to complete its investigation with Tsujihara's cooperation. It has yet to name a successor for his position.