Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara releases a statement apologizing for his inappropriate behavior amid investigation regarding his misconduct. The Japanese-American businessman succeeded Barry Meyer as the studios' top executive in March 2013, becoming the first Asian-American to run a major Hollywood studio.
Last week, news broke out of Tsujihara's sexual relationship with young British actress Charlotte Kirk in exchange for advancing her acting career after hundreds of their text messages leaked. Tsujihara came in contact with her with the help of partners Brett Ratner (who's been accused of sexual harassment himself) and James Packer (who was previously involved with the actress) in 2013 and their entanglement lasted for three years. Since then, Kirk scored a series of small supporting roles in Warner Bros. films such as 2016's How to Be Single and 2018's Ocean’s 8. However, got rocky between the two after she felt that progress in her Hollywood endeavor wasn't as fast as she hoped it would be considering what was promised to her.
The initial probe didn't result in any substantial evidence of Tsujiahara's misconduct, with both parties denying claims. That said, a second investigation will be launched where the company will work again with a third-party firm to look closely into the situation as mentioned by the executive in his most recent memo. Tsujihara's official statement (which THR got a hold of) also includes an apology for his misbehavior. Amidst his scandal, the CEO asked everyone to not be sidetracked by this controversy and focus their energy on their work. Read his full statement below:
By now, you’ve all seen the news reports from earlier this week.
I deeply regret that I have made 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. I realized some time ago you are right to expect more from me and I set a course to do better. That journey continues.
I am so proud of the great work you do every day. Together, we have built a company that is the gold standard in our industry. Warner Bros.’ culture is as important to our success as our business model. We need to continue the hard work we’ve done over the years to create a workplace where everyone feels included and heard. To that end, I’ve asked HR to make additional accommodations if anyone needs to talk.
Since WarnerMedia’s leadership became aware of details surrounding this situation some time ago, it has carefully reviewed the matter and handled appropriately, including having engaged a third-party law firm to conduct a series of inquiries. Following these most recent news reports, the company will again work with a third-party law firm to review the situation, and I will cooperate fully with this investigation.
Please don’t let my mistakes become a distraction. It’s important that we all stay focused on our work — and part of that is creating a culture and company of which we can all be proud. Thank you all for everything you do to make that happen every day.
Tsujihara joined Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in 1994 to assist them in their interest in Six Flags theme parks. Focusing on business development, he became the president of Warner Bros.' home entertainment unit in 2005 and eight years later, he was promoted to be the company's chief executive. During his tenure as the CEO, Tsujihara has gotten flak for meddling with several films in their superhero franchise, the DCEU, particularly in Zack Snyder's Justice League. He not only mandated the movie to be under two hours, which compromised its storytelling, he and president Toby Emmerich also refused to delay the project despite numerous post-production issues because they didn't want to delay receiving their cash bonuses.
While Tsujihara's statement barely focuses on acknowledging his misdemeanor and apologizing for it, it almost sounds like he's already admitted to what he's being accused of - particularly engaging in inappropriate relations with Kirk. The CEO is married with two kids. Regardless of what WarnerMedia's investigation finds out, this scandal further proves that this kind of detrimental exercise is still rampant in this day and age of Hollywood when this behavior is more widely frowned upon. Over the last few years, a slew of men were hit with sex scandals exploiting those who are significantly at the lower tier of the industry's power structure after their victims call them out publicly. Tsujihara's situation may be a bit different as Kirk could be a willing participant, but that doesn't make this any less wrong.