Six actresses, including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, have accused Brett Ratner of sexual harassment and misconduct in a damning new exposé in the Los Angeles Times. The report also includes claims from actresses who say he propositioned them by offering a line of dialogue or an expanded role in one of his movies.
Henstridge’s account is among the more unsettling—she says that when she was 19 and Ratner was 26, she fell asleep watching TV at his place while with friends. The Species actress says she woke up and saw everyone else had left, so she tried to leave too but Ratner stopped her. He began to masturbate in front of her, then moved on to assaulting her: “He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me,” Henstridge said. “At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”
Jaime Ray Newman, who stars in the upcoming Marvel’s The Punisher, said Ratner harassed her the first time they met. He switched seats with his assistant in order to sit next to her, then proceeded to “graphically [describe] giving me oral sex and how he was addicted to it.” He also showed her nude photos of his girlfriend at the time. Newman said she was so shaken by the encounter that she told a friend and her mother after landing; they both confirmed to the Times that Newman had told them the story.
Katharine Towne, who co-starred in What Lies Beneath, met Ratner at a party in 2005 where he repeatedly asked her out. The director-producer, who’s always fancied himself a chip off the old Hugh Hefner block, aggressively pursued her throughout the evening. She says he followed her into the bathroom and continued to harass her; when she was unable to put him off with humor, she gave him her number in the hopes he’d just leave her alone after that. But Towne said Ratner’s assistant called her multiple times to set up a date.
Munn described a long history of abuse from Ratner, which includes him masturbating in front of her on set and lying about having a relationship with her. The X-Men: Apocalypse actress referred to the jerk-off encounter in her 2010 book, but didn’t name Ratner. But it was a common theory that Ratner was indeed the self-pleasuring, cocktail shrimp-eating director of that awful anecdote, something he himself addressed in 2011. Except that, in typical Ratner fashion, he tried to play her off as a hanger-on turned lover turned scorned ex.
Munn had to make “specific, conscientious choices not to work with Brett Ratner” to avoid getting caught in his abusive crosshairs again. But when she ran into him years later at an industry party, he became angry when she kept her distance, telling her he’d ejaculated on copies of a magazine with her face on the cover. “It feels as if I keep going up against the same bully at school who just won’t quit,” Munn said. “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.” Munn said she did consider pursuing legal action, but was discouraged by the attorney she sought out on the grounds that Ratner was a Hollywood power player and she was a relatively new actress. “That did leave an impact on me,” Munn said, of the consultation. “How broken do women have to be before people listen?”
Eri Sasaki and Jorina King also told the Times of their run-ins with Ratner on the sets of his movies; he repeatedly propositioned Sasaki, asking her to join him in the bathroom if she wanted to “be a star.” Ratner also told King he wanted to see her breasts to see if she’d be right for some role, which led to her hiding from him in a bathroom in the hopes he’d lose interest.
Ratner’s denied all of these accounts through his lawyer, Marty Singer. The attorney “vehemently denied” Munn’s accusations specifically on his client’s behalf, and shrugged off Towne’s account of harassment by saying Ratner had just complimented her and asked her out on a date. Singer also issued this statement in response to the allegations as a whole:
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.