Despite deleting the Oct. 20 Facebook post — in which she called Ratner a “rapist” and said the assault took place “in Hollywood about 12 years ago,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE — Kohler said in an emotional interview on Good Morning America that aired Wednesday that she stands by her claims.
“I posted on Facebook and was just starting to feel healing about it all, and an hour and a half after I posted, my cell phone rang,” she said.
Kohler claims that Ratner’s attorney Marty Singer contacted her and said he was authorized to sue her for defamation if she didn’t immediately take the post down. (Singer did not respond to a request for comment.)
“I was scared and shocked,” Kohler explained. “I had never spoken to a lawyer before.”
Although she deleted the post, Ratner filed the lawsuit.
“Brett Ratner vehemently denies the outrageous derogatory allegations that have been reported about him, and we are confident that his name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims,” Singer in a statement to GMA.
“It is nonsense that the defamation lawsuit filed against Ms. Kohler is a tactic of ‘trying to silence women.’ No such thing is occurring,” Singer also told the program.
Kohler’s lawyer Robbie Kaplan, who sat beside her during the GMA interview, explained that she didn’t think the lawsuit was against her client — it was an attempt to keep others from coming forward.
“I think the lawsuit was filed by Mr. Singer and Brett Ratner to send a message to other women, to try to stop other women from speaking,” Kaplan, who handled the Supreme Court case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, said. “We’re here to send a very strong message that it’s not going to stop Melanie from speaking and it’s not going to stop other women from speaking.”
She added, “Since the articles originally came out, 45 women have come, according to L.A. Times, have come out since then to tell stories involving Mr. Ratner, and the truth should come out.”
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Kohler explained that she came forward now due to the numerous men and women began speaking out against their alleged harassers and assaulters in Hollywood recently.
Six women — including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — spoke out against Ratner, 48, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times last week. Munn said that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed film After the Sunset, he masturbated in front of her.
“I can’t get through the day without being reminded of it. It’s everywhere – everyone’s talking about it,” Kohler said. “I’m so impressed and I have so much respect for these women who are coming forward and sharing these humiliating things that happened to them. It’s not something that you ever want to tell anybody. It makes people look at you differently.”
She continued, “You don’t want people to know these things, or at least that’s how it has been — I’m hoping that the culture is changing.”
Kohler, who worked in marketing and met Ratner in a club before the alleged rape, said she wants women to come forward in these situations, even when it seems hopeless.
“I just want women to feel comfortable talking about stuff like this,” she said. “It’s scary, especially when the person that you’re scared of is more powerful to you, has more money than you. When everything feels like it’s stacked against you, I want women to have the courage to speak out anyway because there will be people who can help them.”
If the case does go to court, Kohler is prepared to share her story.
“If I have to risk my life and what I’ve worked so hard for in my life to be the voice that helps other women come forward, then I am prepared to do that,” she said.