I know we’re still all suppressing our gag reflexes at the mere mention of the grossest exposed-and-convicted studio head to ever exist. But I need to stress this story isn’t Weinsteiney in nature. It’s not even at the Les Moonves level. Yes, this story involves two studio heads who used and abused their privilege to get laid. But it also involves extortion, ambition, shady promises, and James Packer. And ultimately, it ends with two men getting caught, and getting fired. It’s the kind of story Ron Meyer and Kevin Tsujihara (seen above) would have probably fought over the movie rights to if still had their jobs.
Variety reported yesterday that NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer would be adding the word, “Former” to his title, effective immediately. Ron, who is also Jennifer Meyer’s dad, announced that he’s stepping down as vice chairman, after disclosing that he had been involved in an extortion situation with a woman who he had an extramarital affair with. Ron had been the NBCUniversal Vice Chairman for 25 years and was a founder of the talent agency CAA. This was Ron’s goodbye statement:
“I recently disclosed to my family and the company that I made a settlement, under threat, with a woman outside the company who had made false accusations against me. Admittedly, this is a woman I had a very brief and consensual affair with many years ago. I made this disclosure because other parties learned of the settlement and have continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money or else they intended to falsely implicate NBCUniversal, which had nothing to do with this matter, and to publish false allegations about me.”
After that statement was released, Variety reported that Ron cheated on his then-wife Kelly Chapman with a 28-year-old British actress named Charlotte Kirk. Here’s Charlotte at the premiere for Ocean’s 8, a movie she was in, according to her IMDb page.
— Celebskart (@celebskart) June 7, 2018
Charlotte has 18 acting credits on IMDb, but she’d have more, if certain men in high places had held up their end of the deal. Sources say that Charlotte got with Ron eight years ago. And in 2013, she was allegedly introduced to former Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara by Australian billionaire and former Mariah Carey fiancé James Packer. Last year, Kevin resigned as CEO after disclosing several text messages between himself and Charlotte, in which she accused him of promising her film and TV roles in exchange for sex. And she was also allegedly involved with Brett Ratner in one way or another. via The Hollywood Reporter:
Tsujihara [was drawn] into what Kirk repeatedly referred to as a sexual relationship. And from there the relationship devolved into a protracted and increasingly desperate struggle among Tsujihara, Ratner and Packer to manage Kirk’s urgent demands to be cast in movies and TV series. At one point, Ratner accused Kirk of attempted “extortion.”
According to the text messages, Tsujihara said he would arrange for Kirk to meet with studio executives on Warner Bros. film and TV projects, a highly unorthodox effort for the chairman of a studio. On March 3, 2015, a frustrated Kirk texted him to say, “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 responded: “Sorry you feel that way. Richard will be reaching out to u tonight.” Other texts make clear that the reference was to Richard Brener, then president of production at Warners’ New Line label.
Brett Ratner’s attorney released a statement last year, saying: “Brett Ratner did nothing wrong and had the best intentions. While he offered to help get Ms. Kirk a limited number of auditions, he consistently told her that she would have to earn any job herself.” So basically, he allegedly doesn’t know her like that.
Things allegedly started to get greasy when Charlotte began texting James Packer, and asking where her movie roles were. James formed RatPac-Dune Entertainment, with Brett Ratner, in 2013, and they had a 75-film deal with Warner Bros. In 2014, Charlotte allegedly put some pressure on James, who allegedly texted back, “Don’t push me, [you’ll] regret it.” That’s when Charlotte allegedly threatened to send their texts to her attorney. Around the same time, Kevin also allegedly started dodging Charlotte’s texts. Kevin’s “mistakes” prompted an internal investigation, and that’s when Kevin decided to step down.
It’s not known if Kevin was involved in any kind of extortion attempt, like Ron Meyer was. Charlotte’s attorney told Variety that they’ve never done a settlement with Ron Meyer ever.
This whole situation is a mess, but I can’t feel too bad for Ron and Kevin. After all, if they showed up to work to actually work instead of having an affair with actresses they promised roles to, they might still be employed. But one of the funnier aspects of this story is that Charlotte allegedly landed the chance to audition for the part of Wonder Woman in 2017’s Wonder Woman, and that she had allegedly begged Brett Ratner to get her a Warner Bros. audition with Ben Affleck. Superhero films? No. She should be looking for a role where she plays a stunned, confused audience member at a magic show. Acting is all about experience. And Charlotte knows first hand what it’s like to wonder, “Huh? Where are all the jobs I was promised? They’ve magically disappeared!”