Kevin Tsujihara has resigned as the head of Warner Bros as one of Hollywood’s most powerful studios investigates a report that he improperly helped an actress obtain roles at the studio.
He is the latest in a line of executives to lose their jobs in the media business following accusations of improper conduct or sexual harassment.
“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 Chief Executive John Stankey said in a statement on Monday.
Tsujihara has held the position since 2013 and was the first executive of Asian descent to lead a Hollywood studio.
In the initial report, text messages alleged that Tsujihara would push for Kirk to gain auditions while they engaged in an extramarital affair. Kirk was eventually cast in small roles in How to Be Single and Ocean’s 8, both Warner Bros movies. Tsujihara’s personal attorney claimed that he had nothing to do with her hiring.
In an internal memo earlier this month, Tsujihara wrote: “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.”
Kirk has since spoken out and explained that she was just 19 at the time and exhibited both arrogance and naivety. “I acknowledge I may have made some poor choices and I’m sorry for that, but I’ve learned from my mistakes since then and have grown a lot, as a person, as a woman, and as a professional actor,” Kirk said in a statement. She is set to appear in the Descent director Neil Marshall’s horror film The Reckoning, which she co-wrote.
WarnerMedia’s investigation into Tsujihara’s behaviour is ongoing with his cooperation. The company’s CEO, John Stankey, has assured employees that no further disruption will occur. “I also want to thank all of our employees, particularly the teams at Warner Bros., for your patience and honesty, and we will continue to lean on your collective resiliency, dedication and professionalism as we chart a new path for our company together,” he wrote.