REVEALED: Directors accused of blackmailing NBCUniversal's Ron Meyer

REVEALED: Hellboy director and another film boss who dated British ‘sex-for-roles actress’ are both accused of separately blackmailing NBCUniversal’s Ron Meyer into green-lighting movies by threatening to expose his 2012 affair

  • Ron Meyer was ousted from NBCUniversal on Tuesday after it was revealed he was being blackmailed over an affair he had with actress Charlotte Kirk
  • Insiders say his blackmailers were directors Neil Marshall and Joshua Newton 
  • Marshall directed the 2019 action flick Hellboy and is currently dating Kirk
  • Newton dated Kirk for five years and cast her as the lead of his film Nicole & O.J. 
  • Marshall and Newton allegedly contacted Meyer in the past year demanding money and pressuring him to greenlighting their movies 
  • The directors allegedly threatened to file lawsuits exposing Meyer’s extramarital affair with Kirk back in 2012 if he didn’t complay
  • Their alleged schemes crumbled this week when Meyer informed NBCUniversal of the extortion and the company asked him to resign
  • Meyer has not publicly named either his mistress or the blackmailers  

Two movie directors have been accused of separately trying to blackmail NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer (pictured) over his affair with British ‘sex-for-roles’ actress Charlotte Kirk – after they both dated her

Two movie directors have been accused of separately trying to blackmail NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer over his affair with British ‘sex-for-roles’ actress Charlotte Kirk – after they both dated her.  

Two sources familiar with the scandal that led to Meyer’s abrupt ouster from NBCUniversal on Tuesday identified Neil Marshall and Joshua Newton as two of the individuals who sought to extort the mogul for money, The Wrap reported Wednesday. 

Marshall directed the 2019 action flick Hellboy and is currently dating Kirk, and Newton dated Kirk for five years and cast her in a lead role in his 2019 film Nicole & O.J.  

The insiders said that Marshall and Newton separately contacted Meyer in the past year demanding money and threatening to expose his extramarital affair with Kirk back in 2012.   

Meyer, 75, allegedly spend months in individual negotiations with the directors, who sought to pressure him into green-lighting their movie projects by threatening to file lawsuits about the affair that named NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast, the sources said. 

The extortion came to light after a draft lawsuit was sent to NBCUniversal directly, previous reports claimed.  

Marshall fiercely denied the claims against him when approached by The Wrap, saying: ‘The allegations concerning me, Ron Meyer and Comcast have no basis in fact.

‘They are malicious and harmful, and you should not be a party to spreading false statements you now know are untrue.’

Newton, who directed and produced the 2009 war drama Iron Cross, did not return the outlet’s requests for comments.  

Charlotte Kirk is currently dating British film director Neil Marshall (above together). Sources say that Marshall – who directed the 2019 action flick Hellboy – attempted to extort Meyer for money by threatening to expose his affair with Kirk

Joshua Newton dated Kirk (above together in 2016) for five years and cast her in a lead role in his 2019 film Nicole & O.J. Newton allegedly tried to blackmail Meyer separately from Marshall

Kirk and Newton are pictured in 2013 – a year after her alleged affair with Meyer 

In a statement announcing his resignation on Tuesday, Meyer revealed that ‘third parties’ had tried to extort him over his consensual affair with a woman ‘many years ago’ but did not disclose her name or the identities of the attempted blackmailers.  

The woman was quickly identified as Kirk, who also toppled the career of Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara last year after she had an affair with him and he offered her movie roles in exchange for sex. 

It’s unclear when exactly the Meyer-Kirk affair took place but sources told The Hollywood Reporter and Variety that it was in 2012, when she would have been 20 and he, then married and 47 years her senior, would have been 67. 

It ended with Kirk making some kind of allegation against him. He paid her a ‘settlement’ and kept the entire ordeal quiet. 

But when others recently learned of the affair, they began a scheme to extort Meyer over it.  

A source told Page Six that someone anonymously sent a draft lawsuit to NBCUniversal, threatening to make the details public. 

The network confronted Meyer, who said he thought he could handle it ‘on his own’, and encouraged his resignation this week. 

‘Universal asked Ron: “Why didn’t you tell us you were being extorted?” He told them: “I thought I could handle it.”

‘Universal said: “We can’t allow you and the company to be extorted, you should have called the FBI,”‘ the source claimed, adding that Meyer was an ‘idiot’ for ever paying Kirk. 

Two other insiders told Variety that Meyer did reach out to the FBI for help with the extortion attempts – but the FBI would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the matter.  

Meyer and Kirk (above in 2018) allegedly had an affair in 2012, when she was 20 and he was 67

Kirk and Marshall are pictured together in a photo from her Instagram account 

Meyer and his wife Kelly Chapman announced they were separating in 2018 after 25 years of marriage. Since then, the source said he’s dated ‘a lot of women’ and that while many were younger, all of the relationships were consensual. 

‘The irony is that Ron is one of the most loved people in Hollywood. 

‘He dated a lot of women after his divorce. They may not have been the totally appropriate women for his age and status, but it was always consensual.

‘He may have got into trouble with his womanizing and gambling, but it wasn’t illegal. He was just stupid. Classic gambler mentality — he got himself too deep into situations he couldn’t control,’ the source said. 

Kirk declined to comment through her manager.

Warner Bros chief Kevin Tsujihara offered Kirk roles in movies in exchange for sex. He was fired last year after their interactions became public

The saga began on Tuesday, when Meyer stepped down.  

‘I recently disclosed to my family and the company that I made a settlement, under threat, with a woman outside the company who had made false accusations against me. 

‘Admittedly, this is a woman I had a very brief and consensual affair with many years ago,’ he said. 

‘I made this disclosure because other parties learned of the settlement and have continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money or else they intended to falsely implicate NBCUniversal, which had nothing to do with this matter, and to publish false allegations about me,’ he said. 

Meyer has been married twice – first to Ellen Meyer, the mother of his two oldest daughters, in 1975. 

The pair divorced 11 years later and Meyer went on to marry model Kelly Chapman in 1993. 

Meyer and Chapman, who have a son and a daughter together, announced that they would be separating after 25 years together in May 2018. 

‘While we’ve grown apart, we remain best of friends and will always share the love we have for our beautiful family,’ the couple said in a joint statement at the time.  

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell released a statement about Meyer’s departure on Tuesday, saying that the vice chairman ‘acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or values’. 

‘Based on Ron’s disclosure of these actions, we have mutually concluded that Ron should leave the company, effective immediately,’ Shell said. 

‘We thank Ron for his 25 years of service, and for his significant contributions to NBCUniversal.’ 

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety were first to identify Kirk as the woman with whom Meyer had an affair, citing unnamed sources.  

Meyer, at the time of his affair with Kirk, was still married to his wife of 25 years, Kelly Chapman. The pair separated in 2018 

Kirk was thrust into the spotlight last year after it was revealed her relationship with Tsujihara had led to his ouster from the company. She opened up about the ordeal in an interview with DailyMailTV in April 2019 (pictured) 

Kirk’s attorney, Raymond Markovich, told Variety that he does not know Meyer and had not arranged a settlement between the executive and his client. 

Markovich did not respond when asked if Kirk had signed or engaged in a settlement, the outlet reported.  

Kirk – whose acting credits include Ocean’s 8, How To Be Single and Vice – made headlines last year after it was revealed that her affair with the married Warner Bros CEO had led to his ouster.  

The actress was just 21 when she had sex with Tsujihara, 28 years her senior, with the Hollywood executive promising to help her acting career after their rendezvous in a motel in 2013.

Kirk in a recent social media post. She has not commented on the Meyer claims 

In March 2019 her texts to Tsujihara, his friend Australian billionaire James Packer -who was also her lover, and film director Brett Ratner were leaked – prompting Tsujihara to step down from his position as one of the movie world’s most powerful men. 

It was widely seen as a moment of vindication for the #MeToo movement that a CEO’s casting couch sex with an actress decades his junior had cost him his job and millions of dollars in pay and bonuses.

But Kirk told DailyMailTV in her first television interview in April 2019 that she does not see what happened as part of #MeToo. 

‘I don’t consider myself a victim then because it was my choice,’ Kirk said. 

‘I wasn’t forced into anything and I did what I wanted to do – good or bad. I would make completely different choices now and I regret doing that.’

Kirk went on to say that she wants to be judged on her own merits as an actress and that her roles were gained entirely without the help of any powerful Hollywood sponsors.

‘I have been thrust into the limelight and no one had heard of me before this. My intention was to make a big bang in the world but not for this, for my work,’ she said.

‘It’s terrible but I’m trying to reverse that by showing people my abilities.’

Kirk insisted that she did not leak the text messages herself and said she had urged the Hollywood Reporter not to run its story exposing her relationship with Tsujihara, who she said had not done anything inappropriate. 

Sources told The Wrap that Kirk sought settlements from Tsujihara and other related individuals who she claimed had promised her movie roles – and that Meyer offered her advice on those efforts. 

A lawyer for Tsujihara denied that he ever made a settlement with her. But sources said she did reach one with with Packer, the Australian movie financier who worked closely with Warner Bros, after her texts with him were revealed.  

Two insiders claimed that Kirk later regretted the terms of her settlement with Packer and blamed Meyer for the sum she received.  

They said Kirk demanded that Meyer pay her to ‘even the score’ and threatened to expose their affair herself if he refused. 

Meyer ultimately chose to pay Kirk an undisclosed amount to protect his reputation, the insiders claimed.  

Kirk played Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife, in the 2019 film Nicole & O.J. She insisted that she was cast on her own merits, not because of Tsujihara

Kirk, pictured last year, said at the time that she did not consider herself a victim of any of the men because she pursued them

Deadline had reported on Tuesday that Meyer became the target of an extortion scheme after he sought to help Tsujihara and Kirk – whom he knew previously – come to a settlement amid the fallout from their scandal. 

Sources suggested that Meyer’s offer to help tipped a third party off about the existence of another settlement between Meyer and Kirk.  

Meyer joined Universal Studios as president and chief operating officer in 1995 and held that job until 2013, when he was promoted to vice chairman of NBCUniversal. 

He had a year left on his five-year contract when he stepped down. 

Meyer began his career as a talent agent in the 1960s and made a name for himself by co-founding the powerhouse Creative Acting Agency with Mike Ovitz, Bill Haber, Rowland Perkins and Michael Rosenfeld in 1975. 

Meyer’s first wife Ellen (center) is pictured with their daughters Sarah – a movie production assistant – and Jennifer – a jewelry designer – at an event in 2018

He built a reputation in Hollywood circles as a cool-headed people person who helped shepherd the careers of major stars including Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone, Barbra Streisand and Cher. 

He was set to become an independent producer in the mid-90s before Ovitz convinced him to go to Universal. 

It’s was not immediately clear if Meyer would be replaced as vice chairman of NBCUniversal, which is currently in the middle of substantial restructuring of the company’s television and streaming unit.  

NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy was removed from his post earlier this month after he was accused of making racist and homophobic comments. 

At the same time of Telegdy’s apparent firing, Lifestyle Networks president Frances Berwick was promoted to an expanded role overseeing business strategy for the entire entertainment side.  

NBCUniversal is currently on the hunt for a new executive to oversee all centralized entertainment programming across the company’s various platforms, according to the Hollywood Reporter.  

In his departure statement, Meyer said: ‘I’ve spent 25 years helping to grow and support an incredible company in a job I love. It is the people at this company that I will miss the most. 

‘I regret what has happened and I am sorry for all the people in my life I may have let down, especially and most importantly, my family.’

Charlotte Kirk speaks out about affair with Warner Bros CEO in 2019 – saying she doesn’t want to be a #MeToo poster girl 

Eighteen months before Charlotte Kirk was linked to a potential affair with Meyer, the actress opened up to DailyMailTV about her secret rendezvous with another Hollywood power player, Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara. 

Kirk was just 21 when she had sex with Tsujihara, 28 years her senior, with the Hollywood executive promising to help her acting career after their rendezvous in a motel in 2013.

Five years later her texts to Tsujihara, his friend Australian billionaire James Packer, who was also her lover, and film director Brett Ratner were leaked – and Tsujihara stepped down from his position as one of the movie world’s most powerful men.

It was widely seen as a moment of vindication for the MeToo movement that a CEO’s casting couch sex with an actress decades his junior had cost him his job and millions of dollars in pay and bonuses.

But Kirk told DailyMailTV in her first television interview in April 2019 that she did not see what happened as part of #MeToo, saying: ‘I don’t consider myself a victim then because it was my choice.

‘I wasn’t forced into anything and I did what I wanted to do – good or bad. I would make completely different choices now and I regret doing that.’

She said she wants to be judged on her own merits as an actress – and insisted that her latest roles were gained entirely without the help of any powerful Hollywood sponsors.

‘I have been thrust into the limelight and no one had heard of me before this. My intention was to make a big bang in the world but not for this, for my work,’ she said.

‘It’s terrible but I’m trying to reverse that by showing people my abilities.’

Eighteen months before Charlotte Kirk was linked to a potential affair with Meyer, the actress opened up to DailyMailTV about her secret rendezvous with another Hollywood power player, Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara 

She also insisted that she was not the one who leaked the texts that cost Tsujihara his job, and that she had ‘begged’ for them not to published and felt sorry for what had happened to the former movie mogul.

Until his fall, Tsujihara had been the architect of successes including Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and was forced out on March 18, 2019 – just two weeks after being given an expanded role in the company. He denied he influenced casting decisions but said his leadership was a ‘distraction’ when he stepped down. 

Kirk’s road to becoming a public example of the casting couch began when she was 19 and moved from her childhood home in Bexleyheath, south-east London, to Los Angeles in hopes of breaking into Hollywood.

Living alone in a rented studio apartment, she embarked on a revolving door of auditions and acting classes to build on her time at stage school at the Italia Conti School of Acting in London.

‘It was really scary and lonely. It was tough because I had no family or friends there,’ she said.

Within months, however, she had met Brett Ratner, the director of movies including the Rush Hour series of movies and X-Men: The Last Stand, who introduced her to Packer, 25 years her senior and married with a two-month-old daughter. 

Packer is Australia’s ninth-richest man, with a net worth of $3billion, according to CEOWORLD magazine. His marriage collapsed and he later had a broken engagement with Mariah Carey.

Kirk and Packer began a months-long affair in November 2012 and in September the next year, Packer introduced Kirk, by then 21, to Tsujihara, texting her at midnight: ‘I have the opportunity of a lifetime for u.

‘Come to [the Hotel] Bel air now. U will never be able to pay me.’

Within months of moving to Los Angeles, Kirk met Brett Ratner, the director the Rush Hour series of movies and X-Men: The Last Stand, who introduced her to Australian billionaire James Packer. The two began a months-long affair in November 2012 and in September the next year, Packer introduced Kirk, to Tsujihara, texting her: ‘I have the opportunity of a lifetime for u’. From left to right: Packer, Ratner and Tsujihara in 2015

Packer said she would be meeting ‘the most important man u can meet’. Kirk made her way to the hotel – and met with Tsujihara.

Later, Kirk wrote to Packer: ‘His [sic] not very nice! Very pushy!! He just wants to f*** nothing else does not even want to say anything!’

Packer responded, asking if she was okay and told her: ‘Be cool.’

At the time, Tsujihara was negotiating a Warner Bros. deal with Packer and Ratner’s RatPac-Dune Entertainment for $450million in movie financing. The Hollywood Reporter said the deal closed three days later. 

Tsujihara and Kirk had clandestine hook-ups at hotels around LA. In one message Tsujihara wrote: ‘Wish I was doing something else.’

Kirk replied: ‘Mmmm such as? …. I remember how good you were at Mmmm. Your a giver ;)’

She then texted him about potential auditions. Tsujihara said that he would talk to a colleague and then asked her to meet up with him the following week after a dinner he was attending.

‘We’re also beginning to cast some cable tv pilots that I’ll look into as well,’ he texted.

Around a year after the first meeting, the relationship appeared to have cooled but Kirk continued to send texts to Tsujihara, Packer and Ratner. 

Kirk was later cast in small roles in 2016’s How To Be Single and 2018’s Ocean’s 8, both made by Warner Brothers. Tsujihara has denied influencing her casting.

She told DailyMailTV: ‘Ocean’s 8 was awesome. I was shooting alongside Sandra Bullock.

‘I had some scenes with Sandra Bullock and there’s downtime as well, so it was great talking to her. She was just a normal, humble, lovely person. How To Be Single, same thing, great cast.’

She added: ‘I was still working my way up at that point and I hadn’t done so much then.

‘The lead roles were already taken so I auditioned for those two roles. My agent got me the audition. I walked in the room and got those roles on merit.’

In March 2015, Kirk texted Tsujihara and appeared to be unhappy about her role in How To Be Single, which starred Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson.

‘Kevin? A two liner?? U have got to be kidding me!!’ she texted, according to THR.

In July 2015, Kirk then 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.’

He replied: ‘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?’ 

By the end of August 2015, relationships were strained and Ratner accused Kirk of extortion.


Kirk told Tsujihara that she felt used when movie roles she said he’d promised never materialized in a series of leaked text message between the former lovers. He has denied influencing casting decisions

‘You can’t take back the extortion u have committed because u have sent text and emails asking for these auditions and jobs,’ he reportedly texted, adding that she had landed a role in How To Be Single.

She replied: ‘Brett you’re an idiot I’m not extorting anyone.’

In May 2016, a settlement for Kirk was being discussed between Kirk’s lawyer, Raymond Markovich, and Ratner’s attorney, Hollywood legal heavyweight, Marty Singer.

It even had what appears to be a vehicle to pay Kirk – a project called From Autism to A-List, a reference to Kirk’s diagnosis with Asperger’s Syndrome, which puts her on the autism spectrum.

But the deal was never signed – and in March 2019, Kirk, Packer, Ratner, and most of all Tsujihara were hit by a bombshell: the leak of the texts.  

Kirk strongly denied leaking the hundreds of texts that were exchanged by herself and the three men.

Kirk told DailyMailTV: ‘The Hollywood Reporter said they were going to leak [sic] the story and I begged them not to. They went ahead and done it. It’s frustrating.

‘There’s really two main points – this happened a long time ago, first of all.

‘Second of all, it wasn’t me that released the [texts]. I didn’t and I tried to stop it.’

The actress said she was baffled as to why the text messages had been made public but her representative said she was barred from saying who she suspected of revealing them for ‘legal reasons.’

The reaction to the texts was explosive – and bitterly felt by Kirk.

Tsujihara stepped down as Warner Bros CEO after the bombshell report. 

‘I’m very sad that it’s happened. We hadn’t spoken for a long time. Hopefully he goes on to other things. I wish him success,’ Kirk said.

Packer and Ratner – who has faced other accusations of sexual misconduct – had not contacted Kirk since the scandal emerged, nor has she reached out to them, she said last year. 

‘I don’t see the point,’ Kirk said. ‘None of us have spoken in a very long time.’ 

Kirk herself faced a backlash but said she would not be ‘scared off’ social media. Although she was being bombarded by messages, about half were supportive.

‘Some of them assume that I released the texts and this happened yesterday. They don’t actually read my statements so that’s frustrating,’ she said. ‘I read them and then I block them because they don’t deserve to be on my Facebook or Instagram accounts. They are trolls.

‘If I had a horrible review or comment on my work that would hurt me.

‘There’s been really nice people who say positive things. ‘Hang on in there, we’ve seen you in stuff, you’re great, it’s a bad patch.”

She added: ‘My mum is very upset by the whole thing. She suffers from anxiety anyway, so it’s not helping her nerves that’s for sure. I’m just trying to block it out really and focus on my work as best as I can.’ 

Kirk said she believed she could benefit from the scandal because people knew that she did not have help to get her latest roles.

‘Kevin unfortunately has lost his job but he stood down. Hire me on my merit and what they see. Even more so now, they can say: ‘Okay well there’s nothing to hide. Kevin’s not there anymore,” she said,

‘It’s not going to hurt my career because I’m not going to allow it to hurt my career. I think I still have a hell of a long way to go.

‘From 19 to 26, I’ve spent that time nurturing my craft. I think the more you’ve gone through, the more life experience you’ve had – good and bad – makes you a better person and it makes you a fantastic actor.

‘Once you’ve had a lot of s*** happen to you, it makes you a bloody good actor.’

Reporting by Louise Boyle for DailyMail.com in London 

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