clear
Friday November 24th, 2017 5:05PM

Hollywood sex accusations now levied at Ratner, Hoffman

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Hollywood's widening sexual harassment crisis has ensnared a prominent film director after six women — including actress Olivia Munn — accused Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday.

Playboy Enterprises quickly distanced itself from Ratner as his attorney denied the allegations. Late Wednesday, Ratner announced he would step away from work with Warner Bros. for an unspecified amount of time.

The reverberations also reached back 32 years as Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman came forward to apologize for allegedly sexually harassing a 17-year-old intern in 1985.

Writer Anna Graham Hunter alleged in a Wednesday column in The Hollywood Reporter that the now 80-year-old actor groped her on the set of TV movie "Death of a Salesman" and "talked about sex to me and in front of me."

Hoffman issued a statement Wednesday, apologizing for "anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."

Munn also complained about onset behavior, alleging that while visiting the set of Ratner's "After the Sunset" in 2004, he masturbated in front of her in his trailer. Munn described the incident, without naming Ratner, in a 2010 collection of essays.

Ratner's lawyer issued a statement Wednesday in which he said the director "vehemently denies the outrageous derogatory allegations" and is "confident that his name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims."

Ratner directed the "Rush Hour" film series, "Red Dragon," ''X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Tower Heist." He has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and his RatPac and Dune Entertainment has an extensive co-financing deal with the studio that has encompassed much of Warner Bros.'s output, including "Wonder Woman," ''It" and "Justice League," ''It."

"We are aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing the situation," Warner Bros. said in a statement.

By late Wednesday, Ratner said he would "personally step away from all Warner Bros.-related activities."

"I don't want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved," Ratner said.

Playboy Enterprises has shelved any of its projects that involved Ratner, including working on a biopic of Hugh Hefner, which was to star Jared Leto. "We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner. We find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable," according to a statement.

"Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins, who presented Ratner an award at the Jewish National Fund dinner on Saturday, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that she was disturbed by the accusations. She added that had never witnessed or been aware of any misconduct by Ratner.

Ratner and Hoffman become the latest Hollywood figures to face allegations of misusing their power to harass actresses, a list that now includes producer Harvey Weinstein and writer-director James Toback. Harassment allegations have also been levied against actors Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Piven.

The crisis has widened to other areas of entertainment and media, including country music. Kirt Webster, a major country music publicist who has represented high profile clients like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr., had denied accusations that he sexually assaulted an aspiring country singer.

A former singer named Austin Rice says Webster groped his genitals, kissed him, made him strip naked and sexually assaulted him in 2008.

His firm, Webster Public Relations, on Wednesday changed its name to Westby Public Relations and is being run by senior vice president Jeremy Westby. A statement from the company said Webster is "taking time away from the business to focus on the egregious and untrue allegations."

Police in Beverly Hills on Tuesday announced they have launched criminal investigations over complaints received about Weinstein and Toback. Weinstein also is being investigated for sexual assault or rape by police in Los Angeles, New York and London.

Weinstein has denied engaging in any non-consensual sexual contact. His representative, Sallie Hofmeister, had no comment on the Beverly Hills investigation. The department said late Tuesday that it was investigating Weinstein and Toback after receiving "multiple complaints," although the department did not specify the nature of the complaints.

Weinstein has been fired from the company he co-founded and is suing The Weinstein Co. in Delaware seeking access to his personnel file and his emails. The company noted in a legal filing Wednesday that Weinstein is contesting his firing in private arbitration. The company is also asking a judge to reject Weinstein's request to fast-track the case.

Dozens of women, including actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams, have alleged that Toback sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Toback has denied the allegations. He does not have a representative to field inquiries about the criminal investigation.

Repercussions have been swift after allegations against Weinstein surfaced. Weinstein was fired from the company he founded within days after initial reports of sexual harassment were published and Netflix suspended production on its final season of "House of Cards" on Tuesday amid allegations star Spacey made a sexual advance on actor Anthony Rapp in 1986 when he was 14.

The decision to pause production Tuesday came before a second actor leveled allegations against Spacey.

Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos wrote on his Facebook page that he encountered Spacey at the bar of London's Old Vic Theatre, where Spacey was artistic director from 2004-15, and the actor tried to fondle him against his will.

Cavazos declined an interview request. There was no reply to a request for comment from representatives for Spacey.

In a statement Tuesday, the theater expressed "deep dismay" at the allegations and said "inappropriate behavior by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable."

Also Tuesday, CBS said it is "looking into" accusations by actress and reality star Ariane Bellamar that Emmy-winning "Entourage" star Piven groped her on two occasions.

On her Twitter account Monday, Bellamar alleged that one encounter took place in Piven's trailer on HBO's "Entourage" set and the other occurred at the Playboy Mansion.

Piven, who stars in the new CBS series "Wisdom of the Crowd," said in a statement that he "unequivocally" denies the "appalling allegations being peddled about me."

"It did not happen. It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward with their histories, and my hope is that the allegations about me that didn't happen, do not detract from stories that should be heard," he said.

HBO, which aired the 2004-11 series, said in a statement that it was unaware of Bellamar's allegations until they were reported by media.

___

AP Television Writer Lynn Elber and AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr in Los Angeles and Berenice Bautista in Mexico City contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, AP Online Recordings News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: 'Bell of Hope' tolls for victims of truck attack
A bell that London gave to New York City after 9/11 has tolled in honor of those killed in the Manhattan truck attack
1:27PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Route 66 brewery sued by European company over use its name
A New Mexico brewery uses the Route 66 name to promote itself so customers will buy its beer
1:26PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Drought may have aided storm that walloped Maine, Northeast
Drought conditions, recent rainfall and an unusual storm path in Maine may have contributed to the large numbers of trees that toppled during a storm that walloped the Northeast this week
1:08PM ( 38 minutes ago )
U.S. News
AP Sources: Broncos bench Siemian, promote Osweiler
AP Sources tell The Associated Press that the Denver Broncos have benched scuffling quarterback Trevor Siemian in favor of backup Brock Osweiler
1:25PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Russian gold medalist disqualified for Sochi Olympics doping
A Russian gold medalist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics has been disqualified based on evidence from an investigation into a state-backed doping conspiracy
1:21PM ( 24 minutes ago )
House GOP to keep income tax rate for wealthiest earners
House Republicans are working furiously working to finish a tax bill. And they've now decided to keep the income tax rate for the wealthiest earners.
1:19PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Brett Ratner 'vehemently denies' allegations
The Latest: Director Brett Ratner 'vehemently denies' accusations
12:57PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Trump wants tougher immigration law after attack by 'animal'
President Donald Trump is pressing for tougher immigration measures after the New York City truck attack that killed eight
12:57PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Lawyer: Ousted Catalan leader won't go to Madrid court
The Belgian lawyer for Carles Puigdemont says the ousted Catalan leader will not return to Spain for questioning by a national court judge in Madrid on Thursday, and suggests he could be questioned in Belgium instead
12:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Police scour for details leading to Utah student's slaying
Police say they're trying to figure out the events that led up to an ex-convict killing a 23-year-old student from China in a Utah canyon
11:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Trump omitted facts in tweets about NYC attacker
An AP Fact Check finds President Donald Trump omitted key facts in blaming Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer for an immigration program Trump says allowed the driver in the New York truck attack to come to the US.
11:15AM ( 2 hours ago )
Russia probe snags GOP, Democratic interests
Three powerful Washington lobbying and legal firms, with Democratic as well as Republican ties, are finding themselves under an intense spotlight _ thanks to special counsel Robert Mueller.
11:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
NY gov says truck attack suspect was radicalized in US
New York's governor says the Uzbek immigrant accused of mowing down people along a bike path near the World Trade Center site left a handwritten note referring to the Islamic State group and had been radicalized in the U.S.
11:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Friend: Accused in truck attack argumentative
Ohio truck driver: Man accused in New York truck attack was argumentative, seemed to harbor radical views
10:56AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Prime minister: Truck attack similar to Sweden's
Sweden's prime minister likens New York City's truck attack to similar 'cowardly' attack in Stockholm
10:07AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
The Latest: Official: 4 hurt in attack critical but stable
New York City Fire Commissioner Joseph Nigro: 4 remain in critical but stable condition one day after truck attack that claimed eight lives.
11:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Ratner accused of sexual harassment by 6 women
The Latest: 6 women accuse director Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct, LA Times says
9:51AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Argentine injured in NYC truck attack recovering
Argentine injured in New York City truck attack is recovering; five friends died in the attack
9:50AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Stars celebrate Halloween with costume cavalcade
Heidi Klum's morphed into a Michael Jackson-style werewolf at her annual Halloween party in New York on Tuesday.
12:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Dustin Hoffman apologizes for alleged harassment
The Latest: Dustin Hoffman apologizes for alleged sexual harassment of a 17-year-old intern in 1985, saying 'it is not reflective of who I am'
11:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Art from Third Reich dealer's trove on show for 1st time
A Swiss fine arts museum is showcasing a new exhibit on Nazi-designated "Degenerate Art" drawn from a collection of some 1,500 works found in the homes of German collector Cornelius Gurlitt five years ago
9:48AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
MGM returns to film distribution with Annapurna partnership
The storied movie studio MGM is getting back into distribution, teaming with Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures in a joint venture that could have ramifications for the next James Bond film
2:26PM ( 23 hours ago )
Dakota Fanning says 'important' to speak up about assault
Actress Dakota Fanning says she hasn't experienced the sort of sexual assault that has turned Hollywood on its head but says, "I think it is important to talk about these issues, for women to stand up for themselves."
12:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Dakota Fanning says "important" to speak up about assault
Actress Dakota Fanning says she hasn't experience the sort of sexual assault that has turned Hollywood on its head but says "I think it is important to talk about these issues, for women to stand up for themselves.''
11:00AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Movies News
Energy stocks lead markets higher; S&P 500 near record
Stocks around the world pushed higher again on Wednesday, led by companies that pull oil and other commodities from the ground
12:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
Social media firms urged to do more to fight Moscow meddling
Lawmakers want answers from leading social media companies about why they haven't done more to combat Russian interference on their sites
12:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: GOP lawmakers mixed on sales tax deduction
GOP lawmakers from high-tax states like New York and New Jersey have mixed opinions about a plan by House leaders to permit taxpayers to continue to be able to deduct property taxes but lose the deduction for state income taxes
12:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
The Latest: 'Bell of Hope' tolls for victims of truck attack
A bell that London gave to New York City after 9/11 has tolled in honor of those killed in the Manhattan truck attack
1:27PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Route 66 brewery sued by European company over use its name
A New Mexico brewery uses the Route 66 name to promote itself so customers will buy its beer
1:26PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Drought may have aided storm that walloped Maine, Northeast
Drought conditions, recent rainfall and an unusual storm path in Maine may have contributed to the large numbers of trees that toppled during a storm that walloped the Northeast this week
1:08PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Police: Truck attack suspect 'did this in the name of ISIS'
Police say the Uzbek immigrant accused of mowing down people along a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial "did this in the name of ISIS."
12:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
Police: Student put body fluids on roommate's belongings
A white Connecticut college student has been charged with smearing body fluids on her black roommate's belongings _ and police are saying it was a bias crime
12:42PM ( 1 hour ago )