Australian billionaire James Packer has become a bit player in a Hollywood sex scandal after text messages between the casino king, an aspiring actress he was dating, and several movie executives were leaked to the press.
The massive feature story, in The Hollywood Reporter today, involve Warner Bros CEO and chairman Kevin Tsujihara and actress Charlotte Kirk, amid allegations of a sex-for-roles arrangement between the pair which went south.
It’s a long, long read involving a lot of text messages, but the gist of it is this: Packer, who was dating Kirk in 2013, introduced her to Tsujihara at the Hotel Bel Air, saying in a text message prior to the after-midnight meeting that it was a huge opportunity for her.
“I have the opportunity of a lifetime for u,” Packer wrote. “Come to [the Hotel] Bel air now. U will never be able to pay me.”
Here’s what followed, straight from THR:
Packer did not identify the man by name, but based on hundreds of texts, emails and a draft settlement agreement obtained and reviewed by THR, the late-night introduction was to Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara. That communication and subsequent encounters between Kirk and Tsujihara drew the powerful studio chief 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, [Brett] 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.”
Basically, the leaked messages suggest to a reader that promises – or, at the very least, implications of promises – were made to Kirk, who was engaged in some kind of sexual relationship with Tsujihara, and much of the ensuing conversations were about managing or evading her demands to be cast in movies and TV.
In one text, Kirk tells Packer – who was involved with Brett Ratner at RatPac-Dune at the time – that “putting me in one of your many movies shouldn’t be a big deal,” and “I did help u out with Kevin which was hard for me but I did it for you.”
At the time of the messages, RatPac was shoring up a $450 million deal with Warner.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Packer says he only ever had good intentions throughout the situation. “We had a brief relationship and I tried to help her career, I genuinely only ever had good intentions for Charlotte,” he said.
In a statement to THR, Kirk herself denied any impropriety on the part of Tsujihara, Packer or Ratner, and said that she had not been promised anything:
I emphatically deny any inappropriate behaviour on the part of Brett Ratner, James Packer, and Kevin Tsujihara, and I have no claims against any of them. I confirm that I was in a romantic relationship with James Packer in the summer of 2013 and that I was treated with respect by Mr. Packer, and I have no issues with him or claims against him. I further confirm that when the relationship ended I sought the advice of Mr. Tsujihara whom I had been introduced to by Mr. Packer. Mr. Tsujihara never promised me anything. I also confirm that Brett Ratner helped me out of friendship to assist me in getting auditions and trying to help me find an agent, and I have no issues with him or claims against him. I deny that there was any legal settlement or agreement entered into between myself and Brett Ratner in 2016.
WarnerMedia said on Wednesday that it will open its own investigation into the link between Tsujihara and Kirk, following THR’s reporting, but also backed up Kirk’s denials of anything untoward happening.
“Through her spokesperson, the actress has publicly denied any impropriety in her casting, and our prior investigation did not find otherwise,” a WarnerMedia spokesman said in a statement. “Whenever we receive new allegations, it is our standard practice to conduct an appropriate investigation. And that is what we will do here.”
The whole thing is pretty complex, and worth a full read over at THR. As per Kirk’s statement and his own, there is no suggestion of impropriety on Packer’s part.