Director and producer Brett Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct by six women, including actress Natasha Henstridge, according to a report published Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times.
Ratner, through his attorney Martin Singer, strongly denied the allegations to the Times.
“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 told the Times. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Ratner’s publicist Simon Halls did not immediately respond to a request by Variety for comment on the article. Ratner, whose film credits include the Rush Hour franchise and X-Men: The Last Stand, has long cultivated a playboy image and bragged about his friendships with the likes of Roman Polanski and James Toback, one a convicted rapist and the other accused of serial sexual harassment and assault.
The Times report comes as Hollywood has come under greater scrutiny about its culture of harassment following bombshell reports that contain dozens of accusations of rape, assault, and aggressive advances toward women made by Harvey Weinstein. Since the Weinstein allegations broke, other media and entertainment figures, including Toback, journalist Mark Halperin, and Kevin Spacey have been accused of assaulting or harassing people. Toback denies the charges, Halperin has acknowledged certain misbehavior, and Spacey has said he didn’t remember an incident in which he came on to a then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp.
Henstridge told the Times that Ratner, 48, allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him during an incident in his New York apartment in the early 1990s when she was a 19-year-old model.
Actress Katharine Towne described a meeting with Ratner at a party in 2005 where he allegedly aggressively came on to her and followed her into a bathroom. His assistant called her for months trying to set up a date, Towne told the Times.
Actress Olivia Munn detailed what she described as several disturbing encounters with Ratner. In one instance, she brought food to his trailer during the filming his 2004 film After the Sunset. Munn alleges that Ratner emerged from the bathroom wearing no pants and “furiously masturbating.” Munn later sparred with Ratner after he claimed during a 2011 TV appearance to have slept with her. A few days later, he apologized for making that statement during an appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show.
Actresses Jaime Ray Newman, Eri Sasaki, and Jorina King also described sexually charged run-ins with Ratner to the Times.
The Times report also featured statements of support for Ratner from five former assistants and other longtime colleagues who said they’d never seen him engage in any misconduct while they worked for him.
The allegations against Ratner, at a moment of extreme sensitivity to sexual harassment issues in the entertainment industry, will put pressure on the filmmaker and his business partners, notably Warner Bros. Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment banner has a $450 million film co-financing pact with Warner Bros. through the RatPac-Dune Entertainment vehicle that Ratner founded with Australian media mogul James Packer. In April, Len Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment acquired Packer’s stake in RatPac. RatPac Entertainment rents production space on the Warner Bros. lot.
“We are aware of the allegations in the L.A. Times and are reviewing the situation,” said Jack Horner, a spokesman for Warner Bros.
Several media outlets have been chasing the Ratner story over the past two weeks. As reporters canvassed the entertainment industry, digging into the director and producer’s behavior, there were indications that support for Ratner might have been weakening. Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot dropped out of an awards celebration honoring Ratner. She had been set to present the tree of life award to the director at a dinner for the Jewish National Fund on Sunday at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. She was replaced by director Patty Jenkins.
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