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In light of allegations that Brett Ratner sexually harassed and forced himself on at least six women, Warner Bros. is scrambling to deal with the fallout.
“We are aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing the situation,” said a Warners spokesperson.
Ratner has a first-look deal at the studio and also is a partner in the RatPac-Dune Entertainment slate financing facility that covers a broad swath of Warner Bros. films including the recent tentpole Wonder Woman.
According to a Los Angeles Times story that broke this morning, the director-producer has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, who detailed their experiences with Ratner to the newspaper.
Henstridge claims that Ratner forced her to perform oral sex on him in his New York apartment in the 1990s. The actress, then a 19-year-old model, was hanging out with the then-music video director watching TV. Henstridge fell asleep, she told the Times, and when she woke up the others had left and she was alone with Ratner. He blocked the exit and began touching himself, she tells the Times, and then he forced her to perform oral sex on him.
The studio finds itself in the middle of a PR headache right as it is about to be acquired by AT&T. Its relationship to Ratner was solidified in 2013, when Warners struck a $450 million slate financing deal with Ratner, James Packer and now U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as well as silent investors like the Koch brothers and Bill Gates. A source says Warner Bros. is reviewing Ratner’s presence on the lot, where he currently occupies the plum offices once used by Frank Sinatra.
Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer dismissed the accounts of Henstridge and the five other women, who opened up to the Times in a series of interviews, saying the alleged sexual misconduct occurred in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events. None of the women the Times spoke to reported the allegations to the police, the paper says in its Nov. 1 story.
“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 wrote to The Times in a 10-page letter. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
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