'Rush Hour,' 'X-Men' director Brett Ratner faces sexual misconduct allegations

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (CNS) - Another prominent filmmaker was accused Wednesday of extensive sexual misconduct.

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, actress Natasha Henstridge and five other women accused director and producer Brett Ratner of a range of sexual harassment and misconduct in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events.

Ratner, through his lawyer, denied all the allegations, which included forcing women to perform sex acts and pleasuring himself in front of them.

"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 said in a 10-page letter to The Times. "Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client."

Ratner has become one of Hollywood's most powerful players, directing, producing or financing dozens of today's biggest box-office hits, including "Rush Hour," "X-Men: The Last Stand," "The Revenant" and "Horrible Bosses," according to The Times.

Now 48, Ratner has long flaunted his playboy persona, bragging publicly about his sexual prowess, according to The Times. He has been romantically linked to Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Mariah Carey.

The women quoted by The Times today are actresses Natasha Henstridge, Olivia Munn, Jaime Ray Newman,  Katharine Towne, aspiring singer Eri Sasaki and background actress Jorina King.

As hundreds of women have come forward in recent weeks with allegations of sexual misconduct at the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback and other powerful men, Henstridge decided she would no longer remain silent, The Times reported. As is often the case, none of the allegations, which date back to the early 1990s, were reported to  police.

The Beverly Hills Police Department, meanwhile, is investigating "multiple complaints" involving Weinstein and James Toback, two longtime film industry figures who have each been the subject of numerous accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

"The Beverly Hills Police Department has recently received multiple complaints involving Harvey Weinstein. These cases are under investigation and no further information will be released at this time," police said in a statement. The department sent an identical release involving Toback, a writer and director. 

Weinstein, a producer long considered one of Hollywood's most powerful people, was fired from The Weinstein Company after dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment or assault. He was also expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers' Guild. and the Directors' Guild is expected to follow suit, having initiated the process.

Weinstein has apologized for his behavior but vehemently denied ever engaging in non-consensual sexual activity. The Los Angeles Police Department has announced it is investigating a sexual assault allegation against Weinstein. That allegation was made by an Italian model-actress who claims Weinstein raped her in 2013 at a hotel while she was in town for an Italian film festival.

Police in New York and London have said they are investigating allegations of sexual assault involving Weinstein as well.

As for Toback, 38 women recently emerged to report years of perverted and creepy behavior by the director whose credits include "The Pick-up Artist" and "Black & White." The Los Angeles Times reported that it spoke to the women about the allegations, with 31 speaking on the record.

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