It was a case of deja vu. One of Hollywood’s most powerful executives exiting in shame, with actress Charlotte Kirk at the center of the drama. On Aug. 18, NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer followed in the footsteps of former Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara by stepping down from his top perch after an affair with Kirk, a move that comes some 17 months after Tsujihara’s exit.
Sources say Meyer, 75, became involved with a then-20-year-old Kirk in 2012, connecting at a Hollywood Foreign Press Association event in London (he was married at the time). That predates Kirk’s relationship with the married Tsujihara — who, in a series of texts published by The Hollywood Reporter in March 2019, promised studio roles and auditions for the fledgling actress — by at least a year.
Kirk did not appear to directly benefit from her relationship with Meyer’s studio Universal in the same way she did from Tsujihara’s Warners, where she landed small roles in Ocean’s 8 and How to Be Single. But sources say Meyer did introduce the actress to managers and directors in town. Kirk also did consulting work for a charity benefiting people with autism that Meyer was backing, according to a knowledgeable source. (Kirk identifies as on the autism spectrum.)
In the Tsujihara instance, part of a proposed settlement involved Kirk writing a memoir, From Autism to A-List, and was intended to offer a way to explain any monetary payment made to the actress. That proposed settlement, which dates from 2016, called for six auditions and one role procured by Brett Ratner, who played a part in the scandal. Meyer, too, had hammered out a settlement with Kirk but years later, in 2019, following the scandal that enveloped Tsujihara.
Tsujihara, through his legal team, maintains he “had no direct role in the hiring of this actress,” although a text message exchange published by THR shows the executive appearing to discuss potential movie roles with Kirk in Feb. 2014.
It is unclear why Meyer’s settlement reared its head again recently, but sources say an ex-boyfriend of Kirk’s had been harassing Meyer in exchange for his silence on the affair, forcing Meyer to disclose the relationship to his bosses, who directed him to step down. In his statement, Meyer went so far as to call the move by an unnamed third party an attempt to “extort” him.
Meyer and Tsujihara aren’t the only powerful men who tried to help Kirk make inroads in Hollywood. Millennium CEO Avi Lerner also was said to have pressured directors to cast Kirk, as did Ratner. Kirk had a torrid relationship with Ratner’s ex-partner James Packer that was detailed in the texts published by THR. (Billionaire Packer has since retreated from the business, though sources say, he, too, reached a settlement with Kirk. Packer’s lawyer declined to comment.)
In the spring, Kirk was said to be shopping for a lawyer to help enforce at least one settlement that she had reached with a third person but that had not been fulfilled. For her part, Kirk has since married director Neil Marshall and stars in his upcoming horror movie The Reckoning, which she also wrote.