Entertainment

Is This a Case of Yet Another Hollywood Sexual Predator?

Six women have now accused Brett Ratner, the director of the 'Rush Hour' films and 'Tower Heist,' of assault and harassment

“Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner is now the latest Hollywood player to be accused of sexual misconduct.

In a new report from the Los Angeles Times, six women accused the filmmaker of sexual harassment or assault.

Actresses Olivia Munn, Katharine Towne, Jaime Ray Newman, Natasha Henstridge and others went on record about their alleged experiences with Ratner, a man whose credits include “X-Men: The Last Stand” and the “Rush Hour” franchise. He has more recently turned to producing and helped make such films as the Oscar-winning “The Revenant.”

The encounters between Ratner and the actresses allegedly included everything from masturbation in their presence to forcing Henstridge to perform oral sex on him when she was 19 and he was a music video director in his 20s.

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Others, like Towne, described Ratner’s aggressive tactics toward them. Towne alleged that Ratner followed her into a bathroom at a party and closed the door behind them. She gave him her number to placate him and he had an assistant call her for the next six months to set up a dinner date.

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Newman alleged she met Ratner on a plane and he began describing loudly all the sexual acts he wanted to perform on her. She also said he showed her nude photos of his then-girlfriend.

Olivia Munn, an actress who has starred in such films as “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Magic Mike,” said she was an aspiring star when she visited the set of the 2004 movie “After the Sunset,” which Ratner directed.

“I was so excited, because I mean, that’s why you come out to California and Hollywood,” she recounted. Munn was asked to deliver food to Ratner’s trailer as a favor and was assured he would not be there.

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When she delivered the food, she was surprised to find he was actually there. The director began masturbating in front of her.

She made a quick exit, and her run-ins with Ratner since then have been more than uncomfortable, she says.

In one encounter, Munn claimed Ratner had walked up to her at a party and told her about pleasuring himself to magazine covers on which she appeared.

“I’ve made specific, conscientious choices not to work with Brett Ratner,” Munn said.

The actress actually told the story of her alleged first run-in with Ratner before. She described the incident in her book, “Suck It, Wonder Woman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek” — but removed the director’s name.

Ratner has publicly said in the past that he had an intimate relationship with Munn, though he later admitted on “The Howard Stern Show” that he’d lied about their relationship.

Ratner denied all of the allegations made in the report by the Times through his lawyer, Martin Singer. Singer described the stories as everything from “ridiculous” to “absurd.”

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On the subject of Munn, Singer claimed Ratner and the actress had an “intimate relationship,” despite his client’s contention that such a relationship never existed.

Munn told the Times any past relationship between her and Ratner is a “complete lie.”

Other revelations about Ratner included two extras from the film “Rush Hour 2” claiming the director was offering them bigger parts in exchange for sexual favors.

The most scarred by Ratner’s behavior is Henstridge, who said she has lived with the trauma of her incident for decades. She recounted how she had come into contact again with Ratner years after her alleged assault.

Related: Yet Another One: New Accusations of Sexual Assault

Henstridge was auditioning for a part in “Prison Break,” a show Ratner executive-produced. She knew there was a chance he would be in the room when she read for the part, but she took the chance.

“And he was [in the room],” she said. “I had two young kids and had to go to work and make a living. And he just acted like we were old friends from back in the day in New York, saying, ‘I haven’t seen you in years.’ Auditioning is already bad enough. But trying to focus on the work, I just felt sick.”

She did not get the part. Singer claimed Henstridge was merely “upset after learning my client had a girlfriend who he would not leave” for her.

Various assistants also went on record to say they were unaware of sexual misconduct by their former boss.

In a January interview with Variety, Ratner described alleged sexual predator James Toback and current fugitive and sexual predator Roman Polanski as two of his “closest friends.”

(photo credit, homepage image: Brett Ratner, CC BY-SA 3.0, by David Shankbone)

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