At This Pace Hollywood Will Have No Stars Left
01 Nov, 2017
High-profile director Brett Ratner has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, who detailed their experiences with Ratner to the Los Angeles Times.
Henstridge claims that Ratner forced her to perform oral sex on her in his New York apartment in the 1990s. The actress, then a 19-year-old model, was hanging out with the then-music video director watching TV. Henstridge fell asleep, she told the Times, and when she woke up the others had left and she was alone with Ratner. He blocked the exit and began touching himself, she tells the Times, and then he forced her to perform oral sex on him.
“He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me,” she said. “At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.” Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer dismissed the accounts of Henstridge and the five other women, who opened up to the Times in a series of interviews, saying the alleged sexual misconduct occurred in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events. None of the women the Times spoke to reported the allegations to the police, the paper says in its Wednesday (Nov. 1) story.
“I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment,” Singer wrote to The Times in a 10-page letter. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Henstridge was compelled to speak out, as hundreds of women have come forward about their experiences with sexual harassment or assault, including by such high-profile figures as Harvey Weinstein and director James Toback, in recent weeks. Henstridge has crossed paths with Ratner numerous times in Hollywood, detailing her experience to her friend only within the last month, and three other people told the Times that Henstridge told them about what she says happened with Ratner.
Ratner acknowledged spending time with Henstridge but disputed her claims with Singer accusing her of being, “upset after learning my client had a girlfriend who he would not leave” for her. Henstridge told the Times that she didn’t want to date Ratner and wasn’t alone with him prior to that night.
Munn, meanwhile, said that Ratner masturbated in front of her when she visited him on the set of the 2004 movie he directed, After the Sunset. She wrote about the incident in a 2010 collection of essays but didn’t name Ratner. Still, he memorably boasted about his exploits with Munn on a 2011 episode of Attack of the Show, a TV program that Munn had previously co-hosted.
“I used to date Olivia Munn, I will be honest with everybody here,” he said. “When she was ‘Lisa.’ That was the problem. She wasn’t Asian back then.”
“I banged her a few times … but I forgot her,” Ratner added.
Days later, he told Howard Stern on the shock jock’s eponymous SiriusXM radio show that he was lying and apologized for making her look like “a whore.” “I felt horrible,” Ratner said. “I said I banged her three times, which wasn’t true.” Munn was new to Hollywood when she had her 2004 experience with Ratner and was asked to drop off some food in his trailer as a favor.
She was under the impression that he wouldn’t be there, but he was. “He walked out … with his belly sticking out, no pants on, shrimp cocktail in one hand and he was furiously masturbating in the other,” Munn told the Times. “And before I literally could even figure out where to escape or where to look, he ejaculated.” She told the Times she let out a “startled scream” and raced out of his trailer and when she told the man who asked her to make the delivery, he said, Munn recalled, “It wasn’t a shock. It wasn’t surprise. It was just, ‘Ugh, sorry about that.’”
Munn said she called her sister, who urged her to speak to an attorney, but the lawyer she met with dissuaded her from going up against a powerful director. “That did leave an impact on me,” Munn told the Times about her chat with the attorney. “How broken do women have to be before people listen?”
Singer told the newspaper that Munn and Ratner had an “intimate relationship.” She said that was, “a complete lie.”
“I shouldn’t have to be completely broken, battered, and devalued in order to prove that he crossed a line,” Munn said. She also talked to the Times about running into Ratner at a number of Hollywood events after the incident. She said she ran into him at a 2010 CAA party. Ratner asked her why she hated him and she said it’s “more of a dislike.”
Ratner angrily responded, Munn told the Times, “Why? I bought 10 of your magazines and came over all of them.” Singer said Ratner “has no recollection of making such a statement.”
Munn told the Times she had been angry about the persistent, false rumors that they were intimate. And she decided to come forward about her experience for other women who are “brave enough to speak up.”
“It feels as if I keep going up against the same bully at school who just won’t quit,” Munn said, telling the Times that she’s specifically avoided working with Ratner. “You just hope that enough people believe the truth and for enough time to pass so that you can’t be connected to him anymore.” Ratner “vehemently disputes” Munn’s claims, Singer said. The other women accusing Ratner in the Times are actresses Jaime Ray Newman, Katharine Towne, Eri Sasaki and Jorina King.
Ratner, who has long had a playboy image, has directed and produced numerous movies. His directing credits include all three Rush Hour films, Dwayne Johnson-starrer Hercules, X-Men: The Last Stand, Tower Heist and a plethora of music videos for Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson. He produced both Horrible Bosses films, Rules Don’t Apply, and executive produced the Jersey Boys film, Black Mass, The Revenant, War Dogs and The Lego Ninjago Movie. On the TV front, he’s an executive producer on the Rush Hour TV series and Prison Break.
In response to the claims, Warner Bros., where Ratner has a first-look deal and is a partner in the RatPac-Dune Entertainment slate financing deal that covers multiple studio films, including Wonder Woman, told The Hollywood Reporter that it is “reviewing the situation.”
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