Packer embroiled in Hollywood scandal
AUSTRALIAN billionaire James Packer has been dragged into an ugly Hollywood sex scandal involving British actress Charlotte Kirk and Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, in which it is claimed sexual favours were exchanged for film and TV roles.
At the time Packer set up a 2013 meeting between Kirk and Tsujihara, he and business partner Brett Ratner were sealing a $US450 million deal between their company RatPac Entertainment and Warners.
According to hundreds of leaked text messages and emails between Tsujihara, Kirk, Ratner and Packer, cited by US website The Hollywood Reporter, Packer texted 21-year-old Kirk at 12.10am on 27 September, 2013.
"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."
He promised the aspiring star a late-night introduction to "the most important man u can meet".
That meeting drew Kirk and powerful studio chief, Tsujihara, into what Kirk has repeatedly referred to as a sexual relationship.
In the early hours of 27 September, Kirk texted Packer:
"His [sic] not very nice! Very pushy!! He just wants to f**k nothing else does not even want To say anything!"
"U OK?" Packer responded, "Be cool."
Kirk was ultimately cast in small roles in two Warners films: 2016's How to Be Single and 2018's Ocean's 8.
But when auditions and roles failed to materialise to Kirk's satisfaction, a three-year power struggle ensued. The back-and-forth became so heated at one point Ratner accused Kirk of attempted extortion and a proposed settlement was brokered by Ratner's lawyer to appease her.
It is understood that deal was never signed.
Yesterday, Packer confirmed he was in a short relationship with Kirk in 2013 and "only ever had good intentions" for his former girlfriend. Neither Packer or Ratner is accused of any impropriety.
"We had a brief relationship and I tried to help her career, I genuinely only ever had good intentions for Charlotte," he said.
"Putting me in one of your many movies shouldn't be a big deal," Kirk wrote to Packer on 18 October, 2014.
"I did help u out with Kevin which was hard for me but I did it for you."
In another exchange on the same day, Kirk wrote:
"I didn't expect to be part of a business deal so all I'm asking is u just help me with a couple of roles it's not big deal and then we'll just put this all behind us."
Packer told her they had discussed this before and denied making any promises of forcing her to do anything.
He told Kirk he felt she was "trying to blackmail me over a lie".
Kirk would later text Ratner complaining she felt that she had been "used as the icing on the cake for your finance deal with Warner Bros," adding, "It's gross what you all did to me!!!" Ratner responded angrily that the deal had nothing to do with her.
Packer agreed to meet with Kirk in Los Angeles to discuss things.
"Dont push me. U'll regret it," he warned Kirk ahead of the meeting.
"James if you're trying to make me worry about my safety you'll be forcing me to give this to my attorneys," Kirk responded.
"Can't wait tough girl… Get back in your box or let's fight. Lying and blackmail are a bad start… tough lying girl."
"This is all getting out of hand," she continued.
"I'm just asking you to do the right thing and help me. Let's just meet and resolve this amicably, ok?"
"I'll meet you but get back in your box," he replied.
After the two met, Kirk noted with disappointment that Packer brought an associate to listen in on the conversation. She intermittently texted Packer for months afterwards but got no response and Ratner took the lead in dealing with her.
In July, 2015, Kirk texted Ratner:
"You know what u need to do. U haven't even come close to doing it. If you thought I would be so easily manipulated you're wrong."
Ratner then asked where to send "the contrct", an apparent reference to a settlement agreement. Four days later he changed tack.
"I'm not sending u the contract. I trust you.. I will just get you a bunch of auditions.. I have 2 auditions coming up… One from New Line for a Will Farrel [sic] movie.. Let me know if you want my help or not? I will have Richard arrange it."
When Ratner complained that Kirk didn't appreciate what he did for her, she responded: "You're the one who wanted me to sign an agreement. Sending me on auditions is a step in the right direction but until it translates into what Kevin promised me then the issues remain unresolved," Kirk wrote.
"Well i don't know what he promised u i wasn't there," Ratner replied.
In November, 2017, when queries were first raised about Tsujihara's relationship with Kirk, he denied any relationship with her. When allegations about whether a top Warner Bros. executive had promised speaking roles to an actress, identified only as CK, in exchange for her silence, resurfaced in September, 2018, the company said an investigation uncovered no evidence of misconduct.
In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk stated:
"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."