Director-producer Brett Ratner is being accused of sexual harassment or misconduct by six women, including actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.
In a story published in the Los Angeles Times Wednesday morning, Munn said she met Ratner in 2004 on the set of a movie he was directing called “After the Sunset.” Munn said Ratner pleasured himself in front of her. In another incident, he claimed he slept with Munn, which he later said on the “Howard Stern Show” was not true.
“I’ve made specific, conscientious choices not to work with Brett Ratner,” Munn said. “It feels as if I keep going up against the same bully at school who just won’t quit. 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.”
Munn wrote about Ratner in her 2010 book, but names and details were removed.
It was one of multiple incidents with the “Rush Hour 2” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” director that Munn detailed to the L.A. Times.
Henstridge said she and Ratner, then in his 20s and working as a music video director, were watching TV with friends at Ratner’s New York apartment when she fell asleep.
Henstridge, then a 19-year-old model, woke up and was attempting to leave when she said Ratner blocked the door.
“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.”
Actress Jamie Ray Newman said that, while in first class on an Air Canada flight in 2005, Ratner loudly and explicitly described wanting to engage in sexual acts with her.
Katharine Towne, another actress, said Ratner made aggressive advances toward her at a film star’s house party in 2005.
“He started to come on to me in a way that was so extreme,” Towne, the daughter of “Chinatown” screenwriter Robert Towne, told the L.A. Times. “I think it’s pretty aggressive to go in the bathroom with someone you don’t know and close the door.”
Eri Sasaki said she was an extra on the set of “Rush Hour 2” at age 21. The part-time model and aspiring singer said Ratner approached her twice while on set and asked her to go into the bathroom with him. “Don't you want to be famous?” Sasaki said Ratner asked the first time. When he asked a second time, she was offered a line of dialogue. She declined both requests.
Another actress in the film, Jorina King, said while she was background actress on the film, Ratner asked her to come to his trailer. King said Ratner wanted to talk about giving her a speaking part. In the trailer, she said Ratner said he needed to see her breasts. King said she declined and hid in a restroom.
“I figured if I could stay out of his eyesight, if I could stay away from him, he will forget about me and he will choose someone else, and that is exactly what happened,” King said.
Ratner responded to the report and the women’s claims in a statement through his attorney, Martin Singer, who disputed the accounts.
“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 in a 10-page letter to The Times. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
In the fallout, Playboy has paused production on a Hugh Hefner biopic directed by Ratner.
“We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner,” a Playboy Enterprises spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “We find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. We are putting all further development of our projects with RatPac Entertainment on hold until we are able to review the situation further.”
Ratner released the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday night about his work with Warner Bros., with which he had a first look deal.
“In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.- related activities,” Ratner said. “I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.”
Prior to Ratner’s statement, Warner Bros. spokesman Jack Horner told Variety, “We are aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing the situation.”
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times Wednesday afternoon, Warner Bros. is ending its relationship with Ratner. Citing an unnamed source, the publication said the studio will not renew its production deal with Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment.