Olivia Munn and Eri Sasaki, along with Natasha Henstridge, Jamie Ray Newman, Katharine Towne, and Jornia King, have come forward with sexual assault allegations against “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner. The reports vary dramatically, from Ratner claiming to have “banged” Munn multiple times to forcing Henstridge to perform unwanted oral sex on him in his apartment.
According to the L.A. Times, Munn stated that she was visiting a friend on the set of “After the Sunset” in 2004 when she was asked to deliver a meal to Ratner’s supposedly empty trailer. When she entered, she quickly put his food on the table and turned to leave. To her surprise, she found Ratner in his trailer without any pants on, begging her to stay. “He walked out…with his belly sticking out, no pants on, shrimp cocktail in one hand and he was furiously masturbating in the other,” Munn recalled. “And before I literally could even figure out where to escape or where to look, he ejaculated.”
Letting out a “startled scream”, she fled from the trailer, immediately tracking down the man who had asked her to deliver the food. To her dismay, his reaction to the assault was less than desirable. “It wasn’t a shock. It wasn’t surprise,” Munn stated. “It was just, ‘ugh, sorry about that.'”
Traumatized, Munn called her sister, Sara Potts, who advised her to speak with an attorney. Hopeful for action, the then fledgling actress sought legal counsel, only to be told that going against a powerful director would not be a wise decision on her part. “That did leave an impact on me,” Munn reflected. “How broken do women have to be before people listen?”
Needing to cope with the sexual assault in her own way, she wrote about the incident in her book “Suck It, Wonderwoman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek“, omitting any names or details that would finger Ratner. Shockingly, Ratner would later guest star on her former television program, “Attack of the Show”, not only coming forward as the unnamed director but denying all of her allegations.
“This is the truth — I used to date Olivia Munn,” he said when asked about Munn’s book. “When she was Lisa, that was the problem. She wasn’t Asian back then. She was hanging out on my set on ‘After the Sunset’. I banged her a few times, but I forgot her because she changed her name. I didn’t know it was the same person, so when she came and auditioned for me for a TV show, I forgot her, she got pissed off, and she made up all these stories about me eating shrimp and masturbating in my trailer,” he said, shrugging off Munn’s accusations. “And my ‘shortcoming’ — she talked about my ‘shortcoming’,” he added, getting a rise out of the audience for his innuendo. “She’s bitter. Who makes up stories like this? It’s unbelievable.”
“I felt horrible,” he told Stern. “I said I banged her three times, which wasn’t true.”
Unfortunately, Munn’s run-ins with Ratner wouldn’t end there — in 2010, she and Ratner both found themselves at the same party. Perhaps willfully unaware of the damage he had caused, he came up to her and asked “Why do you hate me?” to which she replied: “It’s more of a dislike.”
Angrily, Ratner fired back. “Why? I bought ten of your magazines and I came all over them.”
Munn would not be Ratner’s only victim; on the set of “Rush Hour 2“, then 21-year-old Eri Sasaki also caught the unwanted attention of the director. She recalled that her part as an extra dictated she wear a revealing outfit that showed her midriff. She remembers Ratner approaching her on set one day, running his index finger down her bare abdomen and inviting her to go into the bathroom with him. Sasaki refused, prompting Ratner to ask “Don’t you want to be famous?”
Ratner would again ask Sasaki to join him in a bathroom a day or two after the initial incident, still dangling fame above her head in return for her acquiescence. Sasaki refused his invitation a second time, despite his promises to give her a speaking role.
Munn and Sasaki are not the only women to have come forward in their claims against Ratner; at just 19 years old, Henstridge, a fashion model, had been hanging out at Ratner’s apartment with a few friends when she fell asleep. Upon waking up, she discovered that she was alone with Ratner, the others having left earlier. She attempted to leave, only to find Ratner blocking the door with his body, touching himself. Still barricading the door, he forced Henstridge to perform oral sex on him. “He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me,” she recalled of the rape. “At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”
The allegations against Ratner are seemingly unending; Newman recounted a flight with Ratner wherein he described the explicit sex acts he wanted to do to her. Towne recollected that Ratner had followed her into a bathroom, closing the door behind them in his attempts to pursue her. King stated that Ratner had asked to see her breasts on the set of “Rush Hour 2”, his bargaining chip being a speaking part for the aspiring actress. “I figured if I could stay out of his eyesight, if I could stay away from him, he will forget about me and he will choose someone else, and that is exactly what happened,” she said of her experiences with him.
Martin Singer, Ratner’s attorney, has denied any and all allegations against the director. “I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct of sexual harassment. Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Despite Ratner vehemently disputing Munn’s claims, she remains stalwart in her pursuit of the truth, telling the L.A. Times that the persistent false rumors against her character have prompted her to speak up in the hopes that other women who are “brave enough” will do the same.
“It feels as if I keep going up against the same bully at school who just won’t quit,” she said. “You just hope that enough people believe the truth and for enough time to pass so that you can’t be connected to him anymore.”