Director Brett Ratner is the latest Hollywood personality to be accused of sexual harassment and abuse. A series of allegations of sexual harassment and assault have roiled the film industry in recent weeks, starting with the numerous accusations, dating back decades, against the powerful producer and mogul Harvey Weinstein. Others facing allegations, most of them involving multiple accusers, include director James Toback and actor Kevin Spacey.
Last month, there were whispers that director Brett Ratner may soon find himself facing similar accusations, especially when Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot cancelled her planned appearance where she was to present a Jewish National Fund award to Ratner, who directed the Rush Hour films, and X-Men: The Last Stand will producing numerous other films. Now, the other shoe appears to have dropped in regards to Ratner.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that six women have accused Ratner of sexual harassment and/or misconduct. Among the accusers are actresses Olivia Munn, Natasha Henstridge, Katherine Towne, Jaime Ray Newman, Jorina King and Eri Sasaki. Ratner’s attorney is quoted throughout the article denying all of the accusations, while various former assistants of the director defended him as well.
Among the accusations are the episode that Munn recounted in her memoir a few years ago, without naming Ratner, that a director had masturbated in front of her while eating shrimp cocktail in his trailer. Henstridge claimed that Ratner forced her to perform oral sex, while Newman claimed that Ratner made lascivious remarks while seated next to her on a plane. Towne said that Ratner came on to her at a party and tried to follow her into a bathroom, while King and Sasaki were both extras on Rush Hour 2 who say Ratner behaved sexually aggressively with them.
There are many reasons to believe the accounts of the women. There are six accusers, who tell similar stories of events that took place years apart, and they have nothing to gain by stepping forward now. The story comes from the same Los Angeles Times desk that previously broke the James Toback story, which led to literally hundreds more women coming forward. Several of the women told friends at the time about what Ratner had done to them.
Ratner has, prior to these accusations, long cultivated a reputation as at best a hedonistic playboy, and at worst, sexist. He had to step away from producing the Oscars in 2011 after he said “rehearsals are for fags,” and the things he said about Munn (“she wasn’t Asian back then”) were pretty repugnant on their own. A lot of American myth is wrapped up in the notion that being terrible to those around you is the price of genius, but the events of recent weeks, from Weinstein on down, indicates that much of the time, public jerks are concealing something much uglier.
Source: Los Angeles Times