Brett Ratner accused of sexual misconduct by Olivia Munn, others
(CNN) — Director and producer Brett Ratner is the latest Hollywood figure accused of sexual misconduct.
In a Los Angeles Times story published Wednesday, six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused Ratner of allegations ranging from sexual assault to harassment in incidents in private homes, at industry events and on movie sets.
Ratner denied the allegations outlined in the report to CNN through his attorney, Martin Singer.
“Brett Ratner vehemently denies the outrageous derogatory allegations that have been reported about him, and we are confident that his name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims,” the statement read. “He understands the seriousness of this issue and the importance of addressing the concerns of victims of sexual misconduct both in the entertainment industry and beyond.”
Henstridge, who is best known for roles in the 1995 film “Species” and 2000’s “The Whole Nine Yards,” told the publication that when she was a 19-year-old fashion model and Ratner a 20-something up-and-coming music video director, she found herself alone with him in his New York apartment after an evening there with friends.
The actress alleged that Ratner “blocked the doorway with his body and wouldn’t budge” when she tried to leave and “began touching himself,” before forcing her to perform oral sex.
“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 Olivia Munn also shared a story of an alleged incident with Ratner early in her career.
Munn told Los Angeles Times she was an aspiring actress in 2004 when she visited the set of “After the Sunset,” which Ratner directed.
Ratner masturbated in front of her, Munn said, when she went to deliver him a meal in his trailer.
Munn had written about the alleged incident in her 2010 book, “Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek” but did not name Ratner.
That same year, during a television appearance on G4’s “Attack of the Show,” the director said he had dated Munn and that he had “banged her a few times,” before forgetting about her as she had changed her name. (Earlier in her career, Munn used her first name, Lisa, but now uses her middle name professionally.)
“I didn’t know it was the same person and so when she auditioned for me for a TV show, I forgot her, she got pissed off, and so she made up all these stories about me eating shrimp and masturbating in my trailer,” Ratner said then. “And she talked about my shortcomings.”
One week later, Ratner told Howard Stern on his radio show that he had lied about having a sexual relationship with Munn.
Munn told the Los Angeles Times she was angered by “persistent false rumors that they had been intimate.” She said she ran into Ratner the same year her book was published, and “he boasted of ejaculating on magazine covers featuring her image.”
“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.”
A representative for both Henstridge and Munn confirmed the accuracy of their accounts as reported by the Los Angeles Times to CNN.
The Los Angeles Times reported four other women, actresses Jaime Ray Newman, Katharine Towne, Jorina King and model Eri Sasaki, also detailed alleged encounters with Ratner involving sexual harassment.
Ratner, whose directing credits include “Rush Hour” and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” has been a golden boy in the industry for years, despite some high profile missteps.
In 2011, he stepped down from producing the 84th Academy Awards telecast after he said “rehearsal is for fags” during a screening of one of his films.
Ratner apologized for the remark at the time.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body,” he said. “But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.”
“Words have meaning, and they have consequences,” then Academy president Tom Sherak said at the time. “Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable.”
Ratner went on to launch RatPac Entertainment and produced film and TV projects, including “The Revenant” and “Prison Break.”
Warner Bros., which has a first-look deal with Ratner and his company, released a statement to CNN Wednesday.
“We are aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing the situation,” the statement read.
Warner Bros. and CNN share the parent company Time Warner.
Wednesday afternoon, Ratner released a statement saying he was stepping back from his projects with the studio.
“In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.- related activities,” the statement read. “I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.”
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