Director and producer Brett Ratner has been accused of sexual misconduct by six women, including actors Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand director has been accused of behaviour ranging from sexual assault to harassment, that took place in private homes, movie sets and industry events.
Henstridge, who is best known for starring in the 1995 sci-fi film Species, made the allegation to the Times that Ratner had forced her to perform oral sex on him at his New York apartment while she was starting out as a model in the early 90s. “He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me. At some point, I gave in and he did his thing,” she said.
Former Daily Show correspondent Munn claims that Ratner behaved inappropriately towards her on several occasions in the 2000s, including masturbating in front of her in his trailer on the set of the film After the Sunset in 2004. Munn later wrote about the incident in her 2010 book Suck it, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek. While she didn’t mention the director by name, Ratner later acknowledged that he was the person in question during an appearance on a TV show, and said he had slept with Munn, a claim he later retracted.
“I’ve made specific, conscientious choices not to work with Brett Ratner,” Munn told the Times. “It feels as if I keep going up against the same bully at school who just won’t quit.”
Actor Katharine Towne also alleged harassment by Ratner, describing a meeting at a party in 2005 where the director followed her into the bathroom. Towne added that following the incident, the director’s assistant called her multiple times over a six-month period in an attempt to arrange a dinner between her and Ratner.
Actors Jaime Ray Newman, Eri Sasaki and Jorina King also claimed to have been victims of inappropriate behaviour during encounters with Ratner, according to the report, which also included statements from former assistants and colleagues of the director.
Speaking on Ratner’s behalf, the director’s attorney Martin Singer disputed the allegations made against him. “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 said. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
A prolific producer as well as a director, Ratner has had a hand in a number of major recent Hollywood films, including The Revenant, Jersey Boys and the Horrible Bosses series. In 2012 he co-founded film financing company RatPac-Dune with current US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The firm shares a production deal with Warner Bros, who also have a first-look deal with Ratner. In light of the allegations, a spokesperson for Warner said that they were “reviewing the situation,” with Ratner.
The allegations against Ratner come at a time when Hollywood is reckoning with a culture of sexual misconduct, in the wake of claims made against Harvey Weinstein. Producer Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by more than 90 women, and is currently the subject of investigations by police in New York, London and Los Angeles. A spokesperson for Weinstein says that he “unequivocally denies” all allegations of non-consensual sex.