6 Women have accused Brett Ratner of sexual harassment
In light of the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct aimed at Harvey Weinstein, and the subsequent influx of claims made by people in the film industry in the last few weeks, six women have now come out to do the same for filmmaker Brett Ratner, accusing the director and producer of various counts of sexual harassment and misconduct.
According to a report by The Los Angeles Times, actress Natasha Henstridge was assaulted by him when she was 19 years old. Henstridge was a fashion model at the time, and was watching movies with friends at Ratner's apartment in New York, when she fell asleep on his couch. She awoke to find her friends gone, and as she went to leave, the then-music video director, who was in his early 20s at the time, blocked the doorway with his body and wouldn't move.
Hendtridge claims she then began touching himself, then forced her to perform oral sex on him. "He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me," she told the Times. She kept it to herself as she saw him develop into a successful filmmaker, directing movies such as Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand. After the recent allegations that have come forward, as well as the #MeToo campaign, she said she could no longer remain silent.
Ratner's attorney, Martin Singer, "categorically" denied the accusations, telling the times that "I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. But there have been other women who have made similar claims against Ratner.
Olivia Munn said that when she visited the set of the Ratner-directed After the Sunset while she was an aspiring actress. She was delivering a meal to his trailer when he exposed himself to her before masturbating. "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 said. "And before I literally could even figure out where to escape or where to look, he ejaculated."
One of the most unsettling parts of this encounter is the reaction she received when she told the man who had asked her to deliver the food. "It wasn't a shock. It wasn't surprise," Munn recalled. "It was just, 'Ugh, sorry about that.'"
She wrote about the incident in 2010 but didn't name him, the following year Ratner identified himself as that director, but claimed that the event didn't happen that way. He later said of the Vietnamese-American actress:
"I used to date Olivia Munn, I will be honest with everybody here. When she was ‘Lisa.’ That was the problem. She wasn’t Asian back then. I banged her a few times ... but I forgot her."
He later said he felt horrible about the comments, while Munn denied ever having a romance with him. "I've made specific, conscientious choices not to work with Brett Ratner," she 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."
These allegations don't come out of nowhere, as the 48-year-old Ratner has a certain reputation for speaking of his sexual prowess. At the Hollywood Reporter's annual Women in Entertainment breakfast, Tina Fey said: "Brett Ratner is here. In his defense, he thought this was a thing where you could eat breakfast off of 100 women".
He also has spent years in the company of James Toback, who was recently accused of sexual misconduct by more than 300 women. Earlier this year Ratner referred to Toback and Roman Polanski, who was convicted of having unlawful sex with a minor in 1977, as his "closest friends".
Actress Jaime Ray Newman said that, after he swapped seats to sit next to her on a plane, within five minutes he was describing the sex acts he wanted to perform on her in explicit detail, before showing her nude photos of his then-girlfriend. "He was graphically describing giving me oral sex and how he was addicted to it," she said.
Actress Katherine Towne said that he made unwanted advances on her at a party, "He started to come on to me in a way that was so extreme. I think it's pretty aggressive to go in the bathroom with someone you don't know and close the door".
Actress Jorina King, who was told she needed to show him her breasts in his trailer, said that "He feels entitled, that this is what he wants, this is how it is going to be, and this feels like normal business to him".
Eri Sasaki, then a 21-year-old part-time model and aspiring singer, said she experienced something similar on set. Ratner approached her, running his finger down her stomach and asked if she wanted to go into the bathroom with him. When she declined, he said: "Don't you want to be famous?"
His attorney has called this a "ridiculous claim", and referred to other allegations as "absurd", but Ratner himself hasn't made any comment on these recent allegations as of yet.