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Brett Ratner rape accuser asks court to drop producer’s libel suit

Gene Maddaus
Variety

Melanie Kohler, the Hawaii woman who accused Brett Ratner of raping her last fall, has filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss the producer’s libel suit.

Kohler’s lawyers contend that Ratner’s suit consisted of little more than “threadbare, conclusory allegations,” which fail to meet the minimum requirements for a libel complaint. They also argue that Ratner’s suit was intended to intimidate other women from coming forward with allegations.

In October, Kohler wrote a Facebook post alleging that Ratner raped her in 2004 or 2005. She took the post down within two hours, after receiving a call from Ratner’s attorney.

“Stripped of its conclusory allegations, the Complaint is essentially a blank piece of paper,” Kohler’s attorneys wrote. “It lacks any factual allegation from which this Court can infer that Ms. Kohler’s FB Post was false or was published with actual malice.”

Kohler’s attorneys also argued the suit should be dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which limits lawsuits intended to chill public speech.

“Here, Mr. Ratner’s lawsuit threatens to chill speech that is a part of an important and historic public discussion on sexual assault and rape in Hollywood,” her attorneys wrote. “As one of the most high-profile producers and directors in Hollywood, Mr. Ratner’s conduct is an important part of that discussion. And Mr. Ratner’s conduct already is very much a part of that discussion. More than a dozen actresses and other women have accused him of sexual assault and harassment—much of the alleged conduct having occurred in California and in the course of his work in Hollywood. California thus has a strong interest in ensuring a robust discussion about an issue of such importance to the State and one of its most high-profile residents.”

In a filing last week, Ratner’s attorneys said they would seek to limit Kohler’s ability to use the discovery process to explore other sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Kohler Facebook Post by gmaddaus on Scribd

Kohler Motion to Dismiss by gmaddaus on Scribd

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