02 November 2017
Los Angeles: American filmmaker and producer Brett Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by six actresses. Actress Natasha Henstridge and five other actresses accused Ratner of sexual harassment and misconduct that took place in various places, The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
Recalling the episode, Henstridge, 43, said she was watching a movie along with friends at his New York apartment and later fell asleep. She was then a 19-year-old fashion model and he was an up-and-coming music video director in his early 20s.
When Henstridge woke up, the others had left. As she got up to leave, Henstridge blocked the doorway, 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," Henstridge said. "At some point, I gave in and he did his thing."
Henstridge has found success as an actress - starring in the films "Species" and "The Whole Nine Yards."
But she said she has carried the memory of the run-in with her, and watched from afar as Ratner became one of Hollywood's most powerful players - directing, producing or financing dozens of biggest box-office hits, including "Rush Hour," "X-Men: The Last Stand," "The Revenant" and "Horrible Bosses."
As hundreds of women have come forward in recent weeks with allegations of sexual misconduct at the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback and numerous other powerful men, Henstridge decided she would no longer remain silent.
In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, Henstridge and five other women accused Ratner of a range of sexual harassment and misconduct that allegedly took place in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events.
None of the women reported the allegations to police.
Olivia Munn told Los Angeles Times that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed "After the Sunset" when she was still an aspiring actress, Ratner masturbated in front of her in his trailer when she went to deliver a meal, according to a Xinhua report.
Actress Jaime Ray Newman said Ratner put it more bluntly to her when she encountered Ratner on an Air Canada flight in 2005, explaining in vulgar terms that he needed sex.
Actresses Katherine Towne, Eri Sasaki and Jorina King also described sexually charged run-ins with Ratner.
On Ratner's behalf, his attorney Martin Singer "categorically" disputed their accounts.
"I have represented Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment," Singer said in a 10-page letter to The Times.
"Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client."
Ratner is known for directing the "Rush Hour" film series, "The Family Man," "Red Dragon," "X-Men: The Last Stand," and "Tower Heist." He was also a producer on the Fox drama series "Prison Break," the comedy "Horrible Bosses" and its 2014 sequel.