The big #MeToo news today actually isn’t. There might have been some wrongdoing here, especially on the part of Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, but as much as the Hollywood Reporter (THR) would like you to believe different, there is no victim.
In fact, based on the reporting, I would argue that in the form of actress Charlotte Kirk, we have a #MeToo heroine on our hands, someone who turned the infamous casting couch on its head and walked away with a career.
According to THR, in September of 2013, Kirk — who was just 21 — was introduced to Tsujihara by director Brett Ratner and his then-partner, Australian billionaire James Packer.
Kirk, by her own account, confirms she had a “romantic relationship” with Packer that started in 2012. She does not, though, confirm any kind of relationship with Tsujihara, who is 54 and very married.
She also denies that Packer, Ratner, or Tsujihara were ever inappropriate towards her.
“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,” she said in a statement. Nonetheless…
Somehow THR got a hold of what it says are text messages, three years worth, between Kirk, Ratner, Packer, and Tsujihara; and somehow THR has translated those tweets into the exact opposite of what they read like, at least to me.
“The three-year entanglement, revealed here for the first time, offers a window into a dark aspect of the entertainment industry, which regularly brings together attractive young women, eager if not desperate for a shot at stardom, and successful men who at times see these women as a perk of their wealth and power,” THR writes, except, uhm, no it doesn’t.
Before I go any further, I am not here to downplay or dismiss the countless #MeToo sins of Hollywood, especially as it pertains to how vulnerable and needy young women are treated by powerful men and those who pretend to be powerful. Hollywood is a rolling horror show, always has been, and after #MeToo ceases to be useful as a cynical vehicle in furthering the left wing cause against President Trump, it will be dropped and the Hollywood horror show will roll along all over again…
My point is that it is ludicrous for THR to portray Charlotte Kirk as a victim, as anything other than a strong woman who played these guys like fiddles, who flipped the script on the casting couch to her own advantage.
You see, the casting couch works like this: Beautiful woman is desperate to be an actress. Predatory Big Shot beds her with the promise he will make her a star. Beautiful woman eventually realizes it was all a ruse to get in her pants and slinks back to Arkansas filled with shame.
This is how Ms. Kirk apparently worked the casting couch: Beautiful woman is desperate to be an actress. Predatory Big Shots beds her with the promise they will make her a star. Beautiful woman eventually realizes it was all a ruse and creates a record of everything using text messages. Predatory Big Shots freak out realizing this is all in writing. Beautiful Woman now has an acting career. Predatory Big Shots are the ones filled with shame.
Here is a rundown of just how awesome Charlotte Kirk is:
September 27, 2013
Packer to Kirk: “I have the opportunity of a lifetime for u. Come to [the Hotel] Bel air now. U will never be able to pay me… the most important man u can meet.”
This is where Packer introduced Kirk to Warner chief Tsujihara.
Later that same day
Kirk to Packer: “[Tsujihara is] not very nice! Very pushy!! He just wants to fuck nothing else does not even want To say anything!”
Packer to Kirk: “U OK?” and “Be cool.”
February 24, 2014
Tsujihara to Kirk: “[The screening] was good, but I would rather have watched ur music video on loop for a night…”
Kirk to Tsujihara: “u make me blush… [did you talk to your] guys [about that TV show I read for]?”
Tsujihara to Kirk: “Yes, I spoke to our guys—i caused a bit of a stir… I don’t usually call about casting about these types of roles. It’s fine, I just need to be careful.”
Kirk to Tsujihara: “I know we can be carful [sic] and make this work.”
Tsujihara to Kirk: “Doesn’t look great–let’s look for a movie role.”
Early March 2014
Tsujihara to Kirk: [Can’t meet you.] “My life is a mess.”
Kirk to Tsujihara: “[Can you ] back me [for the role of Becky in The Intern]?”
Tsujihara to Kirk: “Sure. I need to find out where they r on casting.”
Later that same month
Tsujihara to Kirk: “Wish I was doing something else.”
Kirk to Tsujihara: “Mmmm such as? …. I remember how good you were at Mmmm. Your a giver ;).”
She then pressured him about getting auditions.
Tsujihara to Kirk: “Need to ask greg tomorrow… I’ve got a dinner in santa monica next Thursday night –u want to meet up after?? We’re also beginning to cast some cable tv pilots that I’ll look into as well.”
He then promised to set up an audition for her in a big movie, King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword, that had just begun casting.
September 5, 2014
Tsujihara to Kirk: “It was nice seeing you last night… So your going to speak with Richard [about] what he has Specifically?”
Tsujihara to Kirk: “Yes.”
“Richard” is Richard Brener who runs New Line, a division of Warner Bros.
“For much of the fall of that year, she peppered Tsujihara with questions about the status of Brener’s efforts to get her work,” THR reports “Tsujihara told her, ‘I’ll follow up… [He’s] trying his best.’ But by spring 2015, communication between the two had become strained.”
Kirk then be4gan to lean on Ratner and Packer.
October 14, 2014
Kirk to Packer: “[Tsujihara is] very kindly looking at what he can do to help me now that my career is starting to take off.”
Packer to Kirk: “I’m really happy for you. Just don’t want to overpromise. Sending you good energy.”
October 18, 2014
Kirk to Packer: “putting me in one of your many movies shouldn’t be a big deal. I did help u out with [Tsujihara] which was hard for me but I did it for you.”
Packer to Kirk: “Hey that’s not being cool.”
Kirk to Packer: “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… [You promised that Tsujihara] would change my world.”
Packer to Kirk: “ur trying to blackmail me over a lie.”
October 21, 2014
Packer to Kirk: “Dont push me. U’ll regret it,”
Kirk to Packer: “James if you’re trying to make me worry about my safety you’ll be forcing me to give this to my attorneys.”
Packer to Kirk: “Can’t wait tough girl… Get back in your box or let’s fight. Lying and blackmail are a bad start… tough lying girl.”
Kirk to Packer: “sounded like a threat on my life. This is all getting out of hand. I’m just asking you to do the right thing and help me. Let’s just meet and resolve this amicably, ok?”
Packer to Kirk: “I’ll meet you but get back in your box.”
March 3, 2015
Kirk to Tsujihara: “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.”
March 25, 2015
Kirk to Tsujihara: “Please make sure that Richard accepts or returns my agent’s calls – as he requested – so that I can get the help you promised me before luring me to that motel to have sex with you.”
She then complained to Tsujihara about a role she had landed: “Kevin? A two liner?? U have got to be kidding me!!”
THR reports that at this point, Tsujihara ended his communications with Kirk.
Kirk to 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 to Kirk: “What are u talking about? I told u i would get Richard to talk to u…. And he did. He is the key to getting work…. I don’t work for u. Why are u so unappreciative?”
According to THR, at this point Ratner was convinced to offer Kirk a written agreement agreeing to get her certain number of auditions and speaking roles. Then he changed his mind.
Four days later
Ratner to Kirk: “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.”
Kirk to Ratner: “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 [Tsujihara] promised me then the issues remain unresolved.
And on and on it went with Kirk threatening to get her attorney involved if Ratner didn’t keep his promises. She also continued to text Tsujihara, but he apparently ignored her. Ratner than pleased with her to leave Tsujihara alone.
Ratner to Kirk: “[Tsujihara] cannot get you jobs or auditions I told u this many times. Stop asking..its up to the directors and producers.. If you are going to be fucking someone for a part it should be a director or producer..”
Another agreement was proposed: “In addition to a stipulation that Kirk would get six auditions in the following calendar year, the proposed settlement called for Ratner — in exchange for Kirk’s silence — to “arrange for [the actress] to obtain one (1) acting role compensated in accordance with SAG scale in the next theatrical motion picture directed by Ratner,” reports THR.
This never happened, though, because Ratner’s career imploded a few months later over a flurry of sexual assault allegations. As a result, Ratner has not directed another movie and his lucrative deal with Warners was canceled.
Things, however, are looking up for Kirk.
A quick look at her IMDB page reveals that she now has a legitimate acting career, including the starring role of Nicole Brown Simpson in Nicole & O.J., a feature film. She also scored a role in Ocean’s 8 (a Warner Bros. movie) and a starring role in director Neill Marshall’s (the new Hellboy) next feature, The Reckoning.
What is most telling is that Kirk does not see herself as a #MeToo victim. Her statement to THR makes that quite clear. My guess is that she wishes THR had never written this piece. The last thing Kirk needs now that her career is gaining traction is publicity that paints her as scheming. Here is the key part of her statement:
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.
Whatever you might think of the morality behind the alleged “arrangement” worked out here between Kirk and the three Big Shots, how about a “Hell, yeah!” for Kirk? From the sounds of it, she entered into this alleged arrangement with her eyes open, as a consenting adult, and then grinded these bullies and users down for more than two years to ensure they kept their end of the deal.
And now she has the career she always wanted.
Meanwhile, Ratner is forever disgraced, Packer lost his shirt and went home, and Tsujihara is currently under investigation by Warner Bros. for any role he might have had in getting his alleged mistress acting roles.
This would make for a much better “feminist” movie than that stupid flop about Ruth Bader Ginsberg.