Six women, including actress Olivia Munn, have accused director Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct, according to a massive report in the Los Angeles Times today.
The allegations follow reporting from other outlets about Ratner over the past few weeks, in the wake of a series of exposés of sexual misconduct in the industry, which have exposed figures like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
Some of the allegations against Ratner are quite intense: Olivia Munn claims he masturbated in front of her in his trailer on the set of After the Sunset, and actress Natasha Hendridge alleges Ratner forced her to perform oral sex in his apartment after a party.
Several woman allege that the working atmosphere on his films is toxic thanks to his constant unwanted sexual advances. The Times cites Rush Hour 2 as a particularly difficult production, with one extra saying he invited her to his trailer and demanded to see her breasts.
Ratner is best known as the director of films like Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand. He has also been deeply involved in the production side of Hollywood, forming RatPac Entertainment with James Packer in 2012.
The director disputes the accounts of the six women who have come forward, issuing a blanket denial through his lawyer Marty Singer, who told the LA Times that “no woman” has ever made a claim against Ratner:
I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.
Singer went further in a statement issued to other news outlets including Reuters, seeming to suggest that his client was only being accused because of a ‘media frenzy”:
We are confident that his [Ratner’s] name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims. 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.
Rater was set to direct a biopic of recently deceased Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Playboy is putting its business relationship with Ratner on hold in the wake of these allegations, essentially freezing production of the film.
“We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner,” said a Playboy Enterprises spokesperson.
“We find this kind of behaviour 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.”