Ratner, Hoffman accused
Hollywood’s widening sexual harassment crisis has ensnared a prominent film director after six women — including actress Olivia Munn — accused Brett Ratner of sexual assault or misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday.
Playboy Enterprises quickly distanced itself from Ratner as his attorney denied the allegations.
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 if ‘‘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 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.’’
Playboy Enterprises shelved any of its projects that involved Ratner, including working on a biopic of Hugh Hefner, which was to star Jared Leto.
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.
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.
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 Rapp was 14.
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.
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.’’ (AP)