Harassment in Hollywood - story expanding

posted by Joel Riley - 

Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge are among the six actresses who have accused director Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times published Wednesday.

Henstridge, now 43, recalls her encounter when she was 19 and she ended up falling asleep on a couch in his apartment while watching a movie with friends. She said that when she woke up Ratner, now 48, tried to prevent her from leaving.

“He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me,” Henstridge explained, adding he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex. “At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”Munn, 37, previously described his behavior in a 2010 collection of essays, Suck It, Wonder Woman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, but didn’t name him at the time. In her book, she said that he masturbated in front of her on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand. Munn told the Times that he also bragged about ejaculating on magazine covers featuring pictures of her.Ratner previously claimed they slept together, but Munn denies this, also telling the Times: “I shouldn’t have to be completely broken, battered, and devalued in order to prove that he crossed a line.”The Punisher star Jaime Ray Newman, 39, detailed an encounter they had on a 2005 flight: “He was graphically describing giving me oral sex and how he was addicted to it,” Newman says, adding that he also showed her nude photos of his girlfriend.Katharine Towne, meanwhile claims that Ratner “started to come on to me in a way that was so extreme,” at a party. The 39-year-old adds: “I think it’s pretty aggressive to go in the bathroom with someone you don’t know and close the door.”Two additional background actresses on Ratner’s 2001 Rush Hour 2 have also described incidents of misconduct.Rattner’s lawyer Marty Singer has disputed each account.“I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment,” Singer stated in a 10-page letter to the publication. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”

HUGH HEFNER FILM SHELVED

Meanwhile, Playboy has put the brakes on a forthcoming Ratner-helmed biopic about Hugh Hefner. Earlier this month, it was reported that Jared Leto has signed on to pay Hefner, but now his rep is denying that he ever committed.“Jared Leto is not and was not attached to a Brett Ratner-directed Hugh Hefner film, nor will he be working with him in the future,” Leto’s rep said this afternoon. “Earlier reports were incorrect and not confirmed by his representatives.”Playboy Enterprises told Deadline: “We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner. We find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. We are putting all further development of our projects with RatPac Entertainment on hold until we are able to review the situation further.”

An anonymous Toronto actress is going to court in Ontario over two encounters with Harvey Weinstein in which she says he assaulted her, the Toronto Sun reports.

Disney is a co-defendant. At the time of the incidents in 2000, Disney owned Miramax, the studio founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

The actress, referred to in the suit as Jane Doe, calls Weinstein a “serial sexual predator” who forcibly performed oral sex on her. She says she met him on the set of an unnamed film and was asked to meet him in his hotel room to discuss future roles.When his assistant left the room, he forced himself on her, the suit alleges.“He overpowered her, pushed her onto the bed, and took his penis out of his pants. After exposing his penis, he told Doe that he had made various ‘famous actresses’ careers and could make Doe’s career as well,” the lawsuit reads. She broke free and escaped, but reportedly left her several messages saying there had been a “misunderstanding.” She met him again and he “threw his weight onto her and tried to stick his tongue down her throat.” Jane Doe reported the incident to police in Toronto in October. She is suing Weinstein, his assistant Barbara Schneeweiss, Miramax and Disney for $4 million in damages for physical pain and psychological distress. Disney has responded, saying there is no legal basis for her claim against the company.Meanwhile, the Beverly Hills Police Department has opened investigations against both Weinstein and fellow accused serial assaulter James Toback. They did not get into specifics, but more than 80 women have accused Weinstein and more than 300 women have accused Toback of assault.

Dustin Hoffman has been accused of sexual harassment by a former intern, Anna Graham Hunter. In a first-person essay for The Hollywood Reporter, she accused Hoffman of harassing her when she was 17 years old and working as a production assistant on the set of 1985’s Death of a Salesman.

By that point, Hoffman, then 47, had five Oscar nominations and two Oscar victories under his belt.

Hunter writes that the harassment started almost immediately, with him requesting massages, grabbing her buttocks and talking openly about sex."One morning I went to his dressing room to take his breakfast order; he looked at me and grinned, taking his time.Then he said, 'I'll have a hard-boiled egg…and a soft-boiled clitoris,'" Hunter wrote. "His entourage burst out laughing. I left, speechless. Then I went to the bathroom and cried."Hunter says she felt conflicted about the situation, having had many positive on-set experiences, including some with Hoffman, she admitted.“And yes, I loved the attention from Dustin Hoffman. Until I didn’t,” she wrote.She continued: “My heart aches for the awkward virgin with the bad hair who had only been kissed three times in her life, laughing as the man her father’s age talked about breasts and sex. I want to weep that she found this charming.”Now in her 40s herself, Hunter wrote she can see that what he did was wrong. “At 49, I understand what Dustin Hoffman did as it fits into the larger pattern of what women experience in Hollywood and everywhere,” she said. “He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment. As to how it fits into my own pattern, I imagine I’ll be figuring that out for years to come.”In response to her story, Hoffman told THR: “I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”

More men have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey. Filmmaker and actor Tony Montana, best know for his 2003 documentary Overnight, and Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos are among them.

Montana told Radar that Spacey “forcefully” grabbed his crotch at L.A.’s Coronet Pub in 2003 and then later followed him into a bathroom.

Cavazos, who worked with Hoffman at London’s Old Vic theater, where Spacey was artistic director, wrote on Facebook that he had “a couple of nasty encounters with Spacey that were on the verge of being called harassment.”He claims, “It seems that it only took a male under 30 so that Mr Spacey would feel free to touch us. It was so common that it even became a local joke (in very bad taste). I don’t remember how many people told me the same story.”He added that “there will be many more who dare tell his stories in the next few days and weeks.” The BBC also uncovered allegations from an unnamed man who claims Spacey harassed him in the mid-80s when he was just 17. Separately, the Sun reports that a British man claims Spacey exposed himself to him in 2010 and then later gave him a watch worth thousands of dollars.

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