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.
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 she had never witnessed or been aware of any misconduct by Ratner.