Thursday 23 November 2017

Brett Ratner ‘steps away’ from Warner Bros after harassment allegations

The director said he does not want to have “any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved”.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment

By Lucy Mapstone and Charlotte Birch, Press Association

Director Brett Ratner has announced he will “step away” from work with Warner Bros after the Los Angeles Times reported claims by six women that he had subjected them to sexual harassment or misconduct.

Allegations against the Rush Hour director, 48, reported in the LA Times, included claims made by actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.

Ratner and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the production and financing company that he is a partner with, have deals with Warner Bros.

In a statement, a representative for Ratner said: “In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros-related activities.

“I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.”

Species and The Whole Nine Yards actress Henstridge alleges that she was subjected to sexual harassment by Ratner in the early 1990s.

Henstridge, 43, said the alleged encounter happened when she was 19 years old and Ratner was in his early twenties.

Munn, who is known for appearing in TV series The Newsroom and films including X-Men: Apocalypse and Magic Mike, accused Ratner of sexual misconduct on the set of his film After The Sunset in 2004, which she was visiting as an aspiring actress.

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Baby names

Munn, 37, previously wrote of the alleged encounter in a collection of essays published in 2010, but did not name Ratner at the time.

Others who have made claims of misconduct against Ratner include actresses Jaime Ray Newman and Katharine Towne, and two women who worked as extras on Ratner’s Rush Hour 2, Eri Sasaki and Jorina King.

Before Ratner’s statement a spokesman for Warner Bros said it was aware of the allegations in the LA Times would be “reviewing the situation”.

When asked about reports the studio has severed ties with Ratner, a spokesman said they had no comment to make.

Earlier Ratner’s lawyer Martin Singer “categorically” disputed the women’s claims and told the newspaper: “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.”

Ratner, through Mr Singer, has denied or disputed each allegation.

Meanwhile, Dustin Hoffman has come forward to apologise amid an allegation of sexual harassment against a 17-year-old intern in 1985.

In a statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter, he said: “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”

The allegations against Ratner come in the wake of a number of accusations from women against film producer Harvey Weinstein and director James Toback.

Toback has not been directly contactable, but has denied allegations via The Los Angeles Times and in a Rolling Stone interview.

Weinstein, 65, has denied allegations of non-consensual sex.

Press Association

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