Who Is Brett Ratner, the Rush Hour and X-Men Director Accused of Sexual Harassment by Olivia Munn and Others?
Movie producer and director Brett Ratner has been accused of multiple incidents of sexual misconduct or harassment — including by actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, who both spoke to the Los Angeles Times.
Munn claims that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed film After the Sunset, he masturbated in front of her, while Henstridge told the paper 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.
In the Times article, published Wednesday, a total of six women spoke out against the longtime Hollywood power player, 48, who directed the Rush Hour movies and produced films including Horrible Bosses and The Revenant.
In a statement to the 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.”
Read on for more about the powerful director and producer.
He directed the Rush Hour series and an X-Men movie
After getting his start as a music video director for artists like Run D.M.C. and LL Cool J, Ratner earned commercial success with 1998’s Rush Hour, starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, which he directed. The three reunited for the series sequels in 2001 and 2007.
Ratner went on to direct 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand after the previous director Bryan Singer briefly left the franchise. Following that, he directed films such as Tower Heist, Movie 43 and the Dwayne Johnson-led Hercules.
He’s equally been an active producer since getting his start on 2001’s Double Take. Some of his producing credits include Mirror, Mirror, the Catfish movie, and both Horrible Bosses. He also produced the Fox TV series Point Break.
He has a Hugh Hefner biopic in the works with Jared Leto
Shortly following the death of Hugh Hefner, it was announced that Ratner had agreed to direct a biopic on the late Playboy founder with Jared Leto in the lead role.
“Jared is an old friend,” Ratner said in October. “When he heard I got the rights to Hef’s story, he told me, ‘I want to play him. I want to understand him.’ And I really believe Jared can do it. He’s one of the great actors of today.”
In the wake of the scandal, Playboy Enterprises has put the project on hold.
He’s known for having a playboy persona
Romantically he’s been linked to stars like Paris Hilton, Mariah Carey and Lindsay Lohan. On the Howard Stern Show, he once bragged that he made a “very young” Lohan get an STD before they slept together.
“Before I have sex with a girl, I do do one weird thing,” Ratner told Stern in 2011. “I do take ‘em to the doctor and check ‘em out. I’m like a cootie freak. I’m a germaphobe. I’m a hypochondriac. Before I go all the way, I send the girl to the doctor and check them for everything. My doctor has a test to tell if you’re going to catch something in the future even.”
Later on the same radio show, Ratner walked back claims he had dated Munn, saying he “felt horrible.” “I said I banged her three times, which wasn’t true,” he told Stern.
He was at the center of the 2012 Oscars host controversy
Ratner made waves in late 2011 when he was set to produce the Oscars with Eddie Murphy as host. The producer created controversy when he jokingly answered that “rehearsing [with his actors] is for fags” during a post-screening Q&A of his movie Tower Heist. After initially apologizing for his remarks, Ratner eventually stepped down from his Oscars producing duties.
Murphy later stepped down as host due to the production changes and Billy Crystal hosted instead.
He’s a longtime friend of Mariah Carey
Ratner, who’s been friends with the pop star for years, gushed to PEOPLE about the singer in 2016, calling her “amazing.”
“She’s been a friend for so, so many years,” he said at the time. “I’m not allowed to say how many because that will age us. But I call her my Aries sister because we’re born like a day apart. And she’s such a great friend. I directed most of her music videos, at least the best ones.”
In July, Starz announced the channel is developing a drama series based on the music superstar’s real-life experiences, with Carey executive producing alongside Ratner.