Could Miami have its own Harvey Weinstein?
Just kidding — of course it does. Like every other place on Earth where men hold nearly all of the power and money, Miami is surely housing enough sexual harassers to book the world's one-week outpatient treatment centers into the next century. And according to six women, film director Brett Ratner is one of them.
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In a Los Angeles Times story this morning, the women, including Olivia Munn of X-Men and The Newsroom and Canadian actor Natasha Henstridge, accuse Ratner of sexually harassing them. Ratner, who has directed films such as X-Men: The Last Stand, Rush Hour, and Horrible Bosses, has denied the claims through his attorney.
The allegations range from disturbing and oppressive come-ons on movie sets and airplanes to a sexually violent incident. Henstridge accused him of physically blocking her from leaving his home and forcing her to perform oral sex. As an aspiring actor in 2004, Munn recalled delivering food to Ratner in his trailer, where he masturbated and ejaculated in front of her before she could flee. Other women describe Ratner following them into bathrooms, asking female movie extras to show him their breasts or touch his penis, and offering bigger parts in his movies in exchange for sex.
Ratner, who was born and raised in Miami Beach, has long had a reputation for, as the LA Times put it, "a playboy persona." In interviews, he has claimed he stays away from drugs and alcohol, preferring women as a vice. He has played up links to starlets such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, as well as Munn. In 2011 on a G4 talk show, he claimed he'd had sex with Munn, but later he admitted to Howard Stern that he had made the whole thing up. Even New Times took notice, wondering, "Is Brett Ratner the douchey embodiment of Miami's general sense of entitlement?"
According to IMDb, Ratner has a stake in at least eight productions in the coming year. Next up: a Hugh Hefner biopic. It's probably safe to assume its release date will be delayed.