Thursday, February 22, 2024

Ron Meyer Steps Down as Chairman of Universal Pictures After Hollywood “Mata Hari” Takes Down 2nd Studio Chief


What the heck is going on in Hollywood? And who exactly is Charlotte Kirk, a 28 year old Hollywood Mata Hari who has now taken down two studio chiefs?

It wasn’t that long ago that an affair with Charlotte Kirk, unknown to all, wrecked the career of Warner Bros. head Kevin Tsujihara.

Now Ron Meyer, 75, the best liked executive in Hollywood, who’s run Universal Pictures impeccably since 1995, is out because of Kirk.

Meyer is not married now. Two years ago in May 2018, he and his wife Kelly announced their divorce. It was a surprise. Now it seems Meyer possibly had a relationship with Kirk. Today he said, as he resigned, Meyer wrote to his staff:

It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure from NBCUniversal.

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. 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. After I disclosed this matter to the company, we mutually decided that I should step down from my role as Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal.

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.

What went on is unclear, although the implication is that Kirk tried to shake down Meyer, he obliged, and realized that it wouldn’t be the end.

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell wrote to the staff: “I am writing to share some unfortunate news. Late last week Ron Meyer informed NBCUniversal that he had acted in a manner which we believe is not consistent with our company policies or value. Based on Ron’s disclosure of these actions, we have mutually concluded that Ron should leave the company, effective immediately. We thank Ron for his 25 years of service, and for his significant contributions to NBCUniversal.”

The whole thing is bizarre. If this kind of thing happened in the 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60s, not a single classic movie would have been made. TCM would be showing maps to the stars houses.

Kirk is a British ‘actress’ with a short list of credits dating back to 2013, the year she had her fling with Tsujihara. While her thespian attributes haven’t led to great roles, she obviously has talents that aren’t apparent yet on screen. She will go down in movie history for her effect on the boardroom more than the screening room. Her Instagram account is self explanatory.

As for Ron Meyer, my guess is he will rise like a phoenix, produce some great movie, and win an Oscar. He’s had personal problems in the past, but they’ve always been eclipsed by his immense decency in business. He has strong friendships and relationships. It would be tragic if this incident marked his whole legacy.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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