November 1, 2017 / 5:07 PM / a month ago

Director Brett Ratner accused of harassment as Hollywood scandal grows

LOS ANGELES, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Six women have accused “Rush Hour” filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, in a widening scandal over alleged sexual misdeeds in Hollywood’s entertainment industry.

Ratner’s attorney denied the allegations, none of which were reported to police at the time, the newspaper said.

”I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment,“ attorney Martin Singer said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. ”Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”

Reuters could not independently confirm the claims by the women, which include on the record accounts by actresses Olivia Munn, star of “X-Men: Apocalypse,” and Natasha Henstridge.

Ratner, 48, is one of Hollywood’s most successful directors and producers whose films include “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “Horrible Bosses.”

Singer and Ratner’s representatives did not return requests for comment on Wednesday.

Movie studio Warner Bros. (TWX.N>, with whom Ratner’s production company has a co-financing pact, said on Wednesday it was “aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing that situation,” spokesman Jack Horner said.

The women alleged that Ratner had either masturbated in front of them, described sex acts, or made unwanted sexual advances in incidents dating back to the early 1990s on movie sets, private homes, or at industry events.

Henstridge alleged that Ratner forced her to perform oral sex on him.

Ratner is the latest famous name in the entertainment business to be accused of widespread sexual misconduct in the past month.

More than 50 women have made sexual harassment or assault claims against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and actor Kevin Spacey has been accused of making sexual advances to a then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986.

Spacey said at the weekend that he did not remember the encounter with Rapp but that if it happened it was “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” and he apologized.

Weinstein, 65, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone but has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and fired from his independent studio The Weinstein Co.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Clive McKeef

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