Brett Ratner sexual misconduct claims spark intense reaction from Hollywood
Jessica Chastain, Judd Apatow, and Asia Argento speak out on the latest scandal
Brett Ratner became the latest Hollywood figure at the center of sexual misconduct allegations when the Los Angeles Times published testimonials from six women on Wednesday morning — including from Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge. Ratner, through his lawyer, denied the allegations in a 10-page letter sent to the publication. “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 said. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Since then, actors and other members of the industry have begun condemning the Hercules and Tower Heist director on social media.
“YEP,” Jessica Chastain tweeted in the wake of the Times report. Jamie Chung of Fox’s The Gifted had a similarly brief response: “Karma.” Director Lexi Alexander (2008’s Punisher: War Zone) called the situation “like Harvey, another open secret.”
Asia Argento, the Italian actress and filmmaker who came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault (claims Weinstein has denied), posted a photo of Ratner with the now-shunned Hollywood mogul. “Weinstein himself crowned you king of the pigs, @BrettRatner,” Argento tweeted. “Looking forward to hear your lame excuses/apologies for your hideous crimes.”
Among the claims detailed by the Times, Henstridge alleged Ratner forced her to perform oral sex when she was 19 years old. “He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me,” she said. “At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.” (Singer “disputed” Henstridge’s account, according to the Los Angeles Times.)
Munn also recalled an incident when the filmmaker masturbated in front of her on the set of 2004’s After the Sunset at a time when she was just an aspiring actress. (She previously disclosed the story in her 2011 book, Suck It, Wonder Woman.)
“I know a woman who was too scared to go on record for this story,” Amber Tamblyn tweeted after the report was published. “I stand with them all. This is not easy to do.”
Ratner denied these accounts through his attorney, Martin Singer. “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 told the Times in part. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Singer was once Bill Cosby’s longtime lawyer and represented the comedian in two separate lawsuits pertaining to sexual assault claims. Cosby parted ways with Singer in 2015. “He hired Cosby’s lawyer Martin Singer so at least he found representation that’s comfortable calling victims of sexual abuse liars,” producer Judd Apatow tweeted. “Shame.”
The allegations against Ratner come in the wake of similar claims of sexual misconduct and assault against Weinstein (who has denied allegations of non-consensual sex), former Amazon Studios head Roy Price, and House of Cards star Kevin Spacey. After the New York Times published the initial report on Weinstein, Henstridge tweeted, “#HarveyWeinstein is not the only major hollywood [sic] predator out there, that’s for sure, I know first hand.”
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who came under fire when she counseled Weinstein, tweeted of Ratner, “My office is deluged with sexual harassment/ assault claims. Victims are rising. Keep it up. So overdue, so powerful.” She has since resigned from her position with Weinstein.
Warner Bros., which has a co-financing agreement with Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment banner, released a statement that read, “We are aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing the situation.”
See additional reactions below.