U.S. film director Brett Ratner accused of harassment as Hollywood scandal grows

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 strongly denied what he called the “outrageous, derogatory allegations.”

“We are confident that his (Ratner‘s) name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims,” attorney Martin Singer said in a statement received by Reuters after the Los Angeles Times story was published.

“He understands the seriousness of this issue and the importance of addressing the concerns of victims of sexual misconduct both in the entertainment industry and beyond,” he said.

Singer told the newspaper that over two decades no woman had ever made a claim against Ratner for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and none had requested or received any financial settlement from the director.

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.”

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.

Ratner is working with Playboy Enterprises to direct a film about the late founder Hugh Hefner, and the company said in a statement it was “deeply troubled” by the allegations against him.

The statement added that Playboy was putting all projects with Ratner’s company on hold to “review the situation further.”

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.Actor Kevin Spacey has been accused of making sexual advances to a then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986.