The exposure of sexual misconduct has forced the resignation of Kevin Tsujihara from his post as chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. following an investigation into his relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and allegations he used his clout to help her find work at the studio.
As reported by THR, after the married Tsujihara started an affair with Kirk in September 2013, she pressured him to help her find roles. Tsujihara set up introductions on her behalf, and she secured small parts in two Warner Bros. films: How to Be Single, from the studio’s New Line label, and Ocean’s 8. Tsujihara’s lawyer says his client played no “direct role” in Kirk’s hiring. In a March 8 letter, Tsujihara apologized to Warner Bros. staff for “mistakes in my personal life”; WarnerMedia began an investigation into his conduct, which has resulted in Tsujihara’s resignation just a week later.
In a statement, Tsujihara said he realized “my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.” Warner Bros. parent WarnerMedia said the studio would release information on the new leadership team on Tuesday (because apparently they won’t be able to replace him with one man).
“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.,” said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey. “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.”
Here is what Tsujihara said in the full memo:
Over the past week and a half, I have been reflecting on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company’s future. After lengthy introspection, and discussions with 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.
I love this company and the people that make it so great. I’ve been honored to head this organization and work alongside all of its talented employees over the past 25 years. Together we’ve built this studio into an unequivocal leader in the industry.
However, it has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success. The hard work of everyone within our organization is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing.
I am overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and industry partners during this difficult time.
Again, I am so proud of the great work that you do every day to make Warner Bros. the gold standard in our industry. It has been a pleasure to work alongside each and every one of you, and I wish you all the absolute best.
The ousting of Tsujihara will have a profound effect on Warner Bros. Studios, and from our perspective, a profound effect on the DCEU movies based on the DC Comics superhero comics properties. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and the upcoming Shazam! represent the last films to release prior to Tsujihara’s resignation.
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