Warner Bros. Entertainment Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara has issued an apology after the studio started an investigation into alleged inappropriate behavior, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On March 6, the newspaper posted a report that Tsujihara, 54, had a relationship with British actress Charlotte Kirk and attempted to advance her career. The article included texts between the two in which Tsujihiara said he would push for auditions for Kirk.
Kirk, who is in her twenties, appeared in two Warner Bros. films, “How to Be Single” (2016) and “Ocean’s 8” (2018). She plays Nicole Brown Simpson in the upcoming independent film “Nicole & O.J.”
A previous investigation by WarnerMedia found no evidence of misconduct, but the latest developments may make it difficult for Tsujihara to remain at his post.
Tsujihara’s lawyer, Bert Deixler, said this week that the CEO “had no direct role in hiring of this actress.”
The scandal resurfaced just days after Tsujihara was promoted into an expansive new role that gives him oversight of children’s programming, The Los Angeles Times reports, and WarnerMedia Chief Executive John Stankey had just named Tsujihara as one of his four top lieutenants.
Tsujihara, who has been with Warner Bros. for 24 years, became the first Asian American to head a Hollywood studio in 2013. He oversees worldwide operations, including the production, marketing and distribution of film, television and video games.
Last October he was honored with the Visionary Leadership Award at the U.S.-China Entertainment Gala dinner sponsored by The Asia Society.
“Look at this summer’s blockbuster ‘The Meg’ — the most successful U.S.-China co-production of all time — and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ — the most successful romantic comedy in a decade and the first major studio release to feature an entirely Asian cast in 25 years,” he said in his acceptance speech. “We’re seeing first-hand that diversity not only feels good but it’s also good for the bottom line.”
Tsujihara also addressed the 2018 graduates of the USC School of Cinematic Arts about the power of entertainment to build bridges, the necessity of diversity and inclusion, and why their voices and stories are more important than ever.
The letter of apology, dated Friday, reads as follows.
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 [human resources] 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.