The last few days have not been the best for director Brett Ratner. Today, while doing a phone interview on The Howard Stern Show, the Tower Heist helmer said he lied about having sex with actress Olivia Munn when he appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show last week. Ratner does call Munn “a friend,” and says the geek cult icon told him he is not the unnamed director she’s refers to in her book as having “undersized manhood.” Ratner continued: “She’s actually talented. The problem is I made her look like she’s a whore.” You can listen to the whole, NSFW Howard Stern interview about Munn here. (Speaking of apologies: EW incorrectly stated in an earlier post that Munn says she dated the unnamed director. We regret the error.)
Ratner also apologized today for using a gay slur during a Q&A after a Friday-night screening of his new action-comedy Tower Heist. According to various reports, when asked by a moderator about whether he rehearsed with his cast before shooting a scene, Ratner dismissively said, “Rehearsal is for fags.” Facing criticism for the remark, Ratner released a statement, saying, “I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb way of expressing myself. Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.”
In response to Ratner’s remarks, GLAAD issued a statement saying, “This apology is a good start, but we’re working with Ratner’s people for more action, to clearly send a message to Hollywood that the anti-gay slurs used by bullies and bigots have no place in the world of entertainment, or anywhere else.”
The incidents aren’t just throwing a wrench in the publicity campaign for Tower Heist. Ratner has been hired to produce this year’s Academy Awards telecast along with veteran TV producer Don Mischer, and, since the Oscars are supposed to represent the film industry’s highest values and achievements (and since the star who’s been hired to host the show, Eddie Murphy, has his own history of drawing fire for using homophobic slurs), his remarks are sure to draw extra scrutiny.
UPDATE: Academy president Tom Sherak tells Deadline that Ratner’s use of a gay slur was “inappropriate…dumb and insensitive,” and that “this won’t and can’t happen again.” He goes on to note that “the apology [Ratner] gave I truly believe comes from his heart. If I didn’t believe it, I would do something about it. This is about integrity and honoring the Academy Awards, but we all make mistakes and I believe he didn’t mean it.”