Australian billionaire businessman James Packer has been dragged into a Hollywood sex scandal, following the leak of text messages allegedly between him and a young actress.
A Hollywood Reporter article released today reveals text messages between British actress Charlotte Kirk and Warner Bros chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara going back to 2013, when they were introduced by Packer at the Hotel Bel Air in a late-night meeting.
Packer and his business partner Brett Ratner were close to closing a production deal with Warner Bros at the time, news.com.au reports.
"I have the opportunity of a lifetime for u," Packer wrote to Kirk in a text message reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter.
"Come to (the Hotel) Bel air now. U will never be able to pay me."
He promised an introduction to "the most important man u can meet."
Kirk agreed to the meeting.
Packer, who is understood to have had a brief relationship with Kirk, is not accused of any impropriety.
Other text messages from Tsujihara suggest a quid pro quo sexual relationship between the aspiring actress and studio head Tsujihara after their meeting, in which he made promises that he'd introduce her to influential executives and she'd be considered for roles in movies and television.
They also show she was determined to hold Tsujihara accountable.
"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," Kirk writes to Tsujihara in one of the reported texts. "Are u going to help me like u said u would?"
Some messages also imply that Kirk believes that she was used to help close the US$450 million co-financing deal for Packer and Ratner's RatPac Entertainment.
WarnerMedia is now investigating claims that Warner Bros chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara promised acting roles in exchange for sex.
"Whenever we receive new allegations, it is our standard practice to conduct an appropriate investigation," a representative for WarnerMedia said in a statement today. "And that is what we will do here."
There is no suggestion of any impropriety from Packer, who told the Sydney Morning Herald today that he and Kirk had a "brief relationship".
"We had a brief relationship and I tried to help her career, I genuinely only ever had good intentions for Charlotte," he told the outlet.
The expose comes two days after WarnerMedia announced an expanded role for Tsujihara, who is already one of Hollywood's most powerful executives.
He will continue running the movie studio, which he has run since 2013, but is adding a portfolio of kids and young adults businesses, including Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Turner Classic Movies.
WarnerMedia representatives say a prior investigation did not find impropriety in Kirk's casting in films like Ocean's 8.
A lawyer for Tsujihara said he didn't have a direct role in Kirk being cast in any movie. She also appeared in the 2016 New Line release How To Be Single.
In her own statement, Kirk denies that any inappropriate behaviour occurred with Tsujihara.
"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," Kirk said in her statement. "Mr. Tsujihara never promised me anything."
The article describes an escalating situation in which Kirk expressed frustration that she was not getting significant roles or auditions and threatened to involve her lawyer.
The report said that in response, Ratner helped broker a draft settlement agreement that would guarantee her auditions and a part in one of Ratner's movies.
In her statement, Kirk said that there were never any legal settlements or agreements entered into between herself and Ratner in 2016.
"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," Kirk wrote.
Ratner was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 by multiple women, which he has denied, but led to Warner Bros. cutting ties with him as the studio waited for the RatPac financing deal to expire in March 2018.
A representative for Ratner did not immediately respond to request for comment.