Director and producer Brett Ratner is the latest to be accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women in Hollywood. Olivia Munn, Natasha Henstridge, Jaime Ray Newman, Katharine Towne, Eri Sasaki, and Jorina King all shared stories of Ratner’s inappropriate behavior on or off set in accounts to the Los Angeles Times.
Munn was bringing Ratner food on a film set when he appeared naked and masturbating in his trailer, according to the report. She ran out of the trailer and told the man who delivered the food, whose reaction was minimal. She carried the encounter with her ever since.
Several women reported inappropriate comments or behavior from Ratner on the set of Rush Hour 2, many of them extras.
“In Brett’s defense, I am sure he is not the only heterosexual man hitting on women on that set,” said David Anthony, whose company helped with extras casting. It’s less a defense than pointing out exactly the problem with this and the dozens of other troubling stories coming out of Hollywood this month: This behavior is everywhere, and this environment is toxic.
James M. Freitag, an assistant director on Rush Hour 2, dismissed the allegations based on the fact that nothing was reported to him on set.
Ratner’s attorney, Martin Singer, issued a 10-page letter to the L.A. Times in response to the accusations.
“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 wrote. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Ratner’s former assistants David Steiman, Hopi Dobuler, Drew Sherman, Brett Gursky, and Izak Rappaport all said that they never witnessed any misconduct, but the encounters described by the actresses above were all one-on-one conversations or private meetings.
As with the stories about Harvey Weinstein and James Toback, there are noticeable patterns: The women were spoken to lewdly (at a minimum), the encounters took place in the privacy of apartments or trailers, and the men involved rise in the industry while their victims silence and bury the experience. Many actresses who shared stories of sexual assault or harassment following the deluge of news about Weinstein chose not to name their harassers.
“That did leave an impact on me,” Munn told the Times. “How broken do women have to be before people listen?”
You can read the actresses’ full accounts here.