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Natasha Henstridge, one of the first women to go public with accusations against Brett Ratner, has spoken out for the first time since a Los Angeles Times exposé leveled sexual harassment and assault claims from six women against the Hollywood producer earlier this month.
Henstridge, who has accused Ratner of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in his New York apartment in the 1990s, opened up about her experience with Ratner while also revealing her own Harvey Weinstein story on Wednesday’s Megyn Kelly Today. Henstridge had told the Times that after falling asleep while watching TV with a group, she woke up alone with Ratner, who then blocked her exit, began touching himself and “physically forced himself on me.”
The actress told NBC News host Megyn Kelly the encounter took place before her big Hollywood break in 1995’s Species, when she was a 19-year-old model.
“At first I thought he was just coming on strong, and trying to convince me that there was something between us, and that he was trying to be super convincing,” she said of Ratner, whom she didn’t know well. “That was my initial thought until I made more of an effort to sort of get out. That is when I realized he wasn’t playing around anymore. He just got very aggressive.”
Henstridge says she got out of there “when I was allowed to leave” and that she felt “terrified.” Running home in tears, she felt “horribly ashamed but also [recalls] feeling dirty, feeling gross, feeling all of those things but also realizing that I had nothing to do with it, I had no say in it. It was a horrible situation.”
She then offered an explanation to the people who have been asking how someone could “force” you into oral sex: “When you are afraid of someone, when you physically don’t know what someone is capable of, when you are afraid of them, you don’t know what they are capable of doing, and therefore you submit. And I submitted. I did submit.”
Though she says she “shoved” the experience down, telling boyfriends and friends at times, it would rear its head when she ran into Ratner, who catapulted to success. And it was the overwhelming claims against Weinstein that spurred her to speak out.
Henstridge, like many of the other now 70-plus women who have spoken out against Weinstein, once found herself taking a hotel meeting with the disgraced movie mogul during the Sundance Film Festival, where she claims he masturbated in front of her.
“One thing led to another, he got very flirtatious and suddenly it became not about the job he was trying to offer me or put me up for anymore. It became all about flirtation. And he did some terrible things there as well,” she said of Weinstein. “Came on to me repeatedly and the story goes much deeper but the whole reason that I came out about Brett is because I had this situation with Harvey and everyone was telling me and people knew the story as well, and people were imploring me to come out about it.”
Though she said Ratner was “more aggressive,” she said Weinstein “definitely tried.” Adding, “I don’t know what you say on daytime TV, [Weinstein] pleasured himself in front of me. He did all of those things and I was then stuck in a room and he tried to get into the room, he consistently came after me, all of those things. I did manage to avoid an actual physical attack by him.”
Of the prevalence of sexual assault claims sweeping Hollywood, and the nation, Henstridge and Kelly were both astounded by women being “lulled into this false sense of, ‘That’s just normal behavior.'” Henstridge said, “I did a lot of films where I am playing the beautiful role or the sexy role or those kinds of things and so I think on some level, people remove the part of you that is an actress from the human part of you.” Kelly commented, “It’s about power and control.”
Ratner acknowledged spending time with Henstridge to the Times but disputed her claims, again issuing a denial to Kelly. Ratner also denied Olivia Munn’s claims, as the actress told the Times in the exposé that Ratner masturbated in front of her when she visited him on the set of the 2004 movie he directed. (Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer denied all of the accusations in a 10-page letter to the Times.)
Since the Times story broke, Warner Bros. severed ties with Ratner and two additional women have come forward. Melanie Kohler, who is now facing a libel suit filed by the producer, accused Ratner of rape, and Ellen Page claims she was harassed over her sexuality and outed by Ratner while on his 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand set.
Amy Kauffman, the co-author of the Times story, said the paper has been investigating 45 potential claims against Ratner since the story ran.
Weinstein, who is said to be seeking treatment, has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex but he could not be reached for comment by Kelly.
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