Monday August 20th, 2018 1:30AM

Studio cuts ties to director Ratner after harassment report

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 and late Wednesday Warner Bros. severed ties with the director, whose expired first-look deal with the studio will not be renewed, according to a person with knowledge of the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

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 on-set behavior, alleging that while visiting the production 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."

According to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity, Ratner will no longer occupy rented office space on the company's lot in Burbank, Calif. He has also been taken off of the adaptation of Donna Tartt's novel "The Goldfinch," which he had previously been set to produce.

Ratner's production company, RatPac Entertainment does have a financing deal with the studio that will continue until March 2018. The $450-million co-financing agreement was signed in 2013 and it remains unclear whether that will be renewed or not. It has encompassed much of Warner Bros.'s output, including "Wonder Woman," ''It" and "Justice League."

A Warner Bros. representative declined comment.

Ratner had previously said he would step away from work with Warner Bros. for an unspecified amount of time. "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 lost memberships in several organizations 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. Representatives for Spacey said he's "taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment. No other information is available at this time."

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."


Bahr reported from Los Angeles. AP Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles, AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy in New York and Berenice Bautista in Mexico City contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, AP Online Recordings News, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2018
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
CIA releases 470,000 more files from bin Laden raid
The CIA is releasing never-before-seen video of Osama bin Laden's son and potential successor _ part of a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al-Qaida leader at his compound in Pakistan
9:44PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Studio cuts ties to director Ratner after harassment report
Studio cuts ties to director Ratner after harassment report, while claim against Dustin Hoffman prompts apology from the Oscar winner
9:35PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Thai junta firmly in command after year of mourning for king
Thailand's military government has emerged from the year of mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej with a firm grip on power and in no apparent rush to hold elections it has delayed since its coup
9:34PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Newcombe, Koufax deliver first pitches
The Dodgers turned to pitching legends Don Newcombe and Sandy Koufax for ceremonial first pitches before Game 7. The right-handed Newcombe tossed the ball to Rick Monday, while lefty Koufax threw to Steve Garvey
8:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Valenzuela celebrating birthday at stadium
Fernando Valenzuela is celebrating his 57th birthday at Dodger Stadium
8:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hollywood sex accusations now levied at Ratner, Hoffman
Hollywood's widening sexual harassment crisis ensnared another prominent film director when six women _ including actress Olivia Munn _ accused Brett Ratner of harassment or misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report
8:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
The Latest: Publicity firm changes names after accusations
The Latest: A major country music publicity firm is changing its name after its president and CEO was accused of sexually assaulting an aspiring country singer.
3:53PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Playboy distances itself from Brett Ratner
The Latest: Playboy Enterprises distances itself from director Brett Ratner following allegations by six women that the director and producer sexual harassed and assaulted them
3:29PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Movies News
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez discuss relationship
Alex Rodriguez says he and girlfriend Jennifer Lopez are "very much twins."
2:06PM ( 7 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: With first charges, Mueller sends warning to Trump, aides; Inconsistencies cast doubt on Hawaiian sailors' tale of survival; Dodgers aim to stave off elimination in World Series
6:31AM ( 1 day ago )
3 Prince heirs ask judge to remove estate administrator
Three heirs of late music superstar Prince ask a judge to remove the company that is managing his estate
4:13PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Recordings News
UK town to burn Harvey Weinstein in effigy on Bonfire Night
A British town plans to burn a 36-foot (11-meter) effigy of Harvey Weinstein at its annual Bonfire Night celebrations
2:03PM ( 7 hours ago )
Prince Harry visits Chicago school, talks at Obama summit
Prince Harry has made a stop in Chicago to talk about youth leadership during a summit planned by the Obama Foundation
9:03AM ( 12 hours ago )
'This Is Us' Kevin Spacey name-check goes to Christian Bale
Christian Bale won what embattled Kevin Spacey lost: the privilege of being name-checked on "This Is Us."
4:17AM ( 17 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Newly disclosed Facebook ads show Russia's cyber intrusion
Lawmakers have released a trove of Facebook ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process and shape public opinion on divisive social issues
8:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
Truck attack suspect is charged with terrorism offenses
Federal prosecutors have brought terrorism charges against the Uzbek immigrant accused in the truck rampage that left eight people dead, saying he was spurred to attack by the Islamic State group's online calls to action
8:43PM ( 1 hour 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
8:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Trump signs GOP repeal of consumer banking rule
President Donald Trump has signed a Republican-led repeal of a banking rule that would let consumers band together to sue their bank or credit card company to resolve financial disputes
5:38PM ( 4 hours ago )
US auto sales fall even with strong sales of SUVs and trucks
Increased demand from rental car companies, strong truck and SUV sales, and recovery from hurricanes in Florida and Texas weren't enough to push U.S. auto sales into positive territory for October
5:01PM ( 4 hours ago )
Facebook says security investments will affect profitability
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that the company was "serious about preventing abuse" and that its investments in security would affect its profitability
4:39PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Thai junta firmly in command after year of mourning for king
Thailand's military government has emerged from the year of mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej with a firm grip on power and in no apparent rush to hold elections it has delayed since its coup
9:34PM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: Springer's 2-run homer extends Astros lead
The Houston Astros are off to a stellar start in Game 7 of the World Series after chasing Dodgers starter Yu Darvish
9:25PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Warner Bros. cuts ties with Brett Ratner
The Latest: Warner Bros. cuts ties with Brett Ratner amid sexual harassment allegations
9:09PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Houston takes 2-0 lead in 1st against Dodgers
Houston went ahead against Game 3 loser Yu Darvish after four pitches and took a 2-0 lead after eight
9:03PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Clean slate: Browns' Gordon reinstated by NFL on conditions
Browns suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon granted conditional reinstatement by NFL
9:00PM ( 46 minutes ago )