It seems like every day this month has brought new insight into how ghoulish Hollywood, and the men who hold the power in it, can be. Along with the general public, the entertainment industry is still reeling over the staggering number of sexual harassment and assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein and director James Toback. And earlier this week, actor Anthony Rapp claimed that actor Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on him when Rapp was 14 years old; Spacey apologized and blamed his alleged behavior on alcohol.
Another chapter in the catalog of sex abuse and harassment in Hollywood is now being written, as six women — including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — have come forward in interviews with the Los Angeles Times to discuss encounters they say they’ve had with director-producer Brett Ratner. All six women allege that Ratner sexually harassed them; Henstridge says he physically “forced himself” on her.
Henstridge’s account details how she attended a small party at Ratner’s New York apartment in the early 1990s. She found herself alone with Ratner, who then, she says, forced her to give him oral sex:
But when Henstridge woke up, the others had left. She was alone with Ratner. She got up to leave, Henstridge said, but he blocked the doorway with his body and wouldn’t budge. He began touching himself, she said, then forced her to perform oral sex.
“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.”
Munn, who says Ratner lied about “banging” her in interviews in 2011, claims that Ratner masturbated in front of her while she was delivering a meal to his trailer in 2004:
Munn entered Ratner’s trailer and quickly placed the food on a table. She said she was startled to find him inside. She tried to make a quick exit, but Ratner implored her not to leave.
"He walked out ... with his belly sticking out, no pants on, shrimp cocktail in one hand and he was furiously masturbating in the other," Munn said. "And before I literally could even figure out where to escape or where to look, he ejaculated."
Munn told the LA Times she spoke to an attorney about the incident but was told not to push the issue since Ratner held a lot of power — he finances and directs movies — in the entertainment industry.
“I've made specific, conscientious choices not to work with Brett Ratner,” Munn said.
Ratner declined to speak to the paper personally, and had his attorney, Martin Singer, respond and deny the women's allegations on his behalf.
“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 LA Times in a 10-page letter. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.