Brett Ratner Sues Woman for Defamation Over Rape Allegation
Brett Ratner has filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who claims he raped her over a decade ago in Los Angeles
Brett Ratner has filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who claims he raped her over a decade ago in Los Angeles.
Melanie Kohler first made the allegations against the director in an Oct. 20 Facebook post, calling him a “rapist” and saying the assault took place “in Hollywood about 12 years ago,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
“[Ratner] preyed on me as a drunk girl [and] forced himself upon me,” the documents claim she said in the post.
Ratner is suing for defamation, claiming an unspecified amount of damages.
Six women — including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — spoke out against Ratner, 48, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. Munn said that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed film After the Sunset, he masturbated in front of her.
In a statement to the L.A. Times, Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer vehemently disputed the specific allegations and said “no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
On Wednesday, Ratner responded to the allegations himself, saying, “In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.- related activities.” He added, “I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.”
Ratner is a longtime Hollywood power player known for directing the Rush Hour series and producing movies like Horrible Bosses and The Revenant. He reportedly had a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and was connected to a project titled Goldfinch based of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller of the same name. According to Deadline, insiders at Warner Bros. say that Ratner no longer has an office at the studio, has been removed from the Goldfinch project and will not have his deal renewed.
Also on Wednesday, Playboy announced that plans for a Ratner-directed Hugh Hefner project have been put on hold following the allegations. Jared Leto, who was said to be starring in the film, later announced that he was never part of the project.
In addition to Munn’s allegations, Henstridge told the L.A. Times that when she was 19, she was forced to perform oral sex on Ratner in his New York apartment after watching a movie with a group of friends. Henstridge alleged Ratner blocked the doorway when she tried to leave and began touching himself.
“He strong-armed me in a real way,” she said. “He physically forced himself on me. At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”
Actresses Jaime Ray Newman and Katharine Towne also claimed to the L.A. Times that Ratner made unwanted, aggressive advances to them on a plane and at a party, respectively.