“No one has ever accused him before” seems to form a large part of Brett Ratner’s defense (though is it a defense?) against the sexual misconduct allegations piling up against him. When the Los Angeles Times reported that six women had accused the director of sexual misconduct, his attorney Martin Singer denied the claims on the basis that “no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment” in the two decades he had represented him.
Now Variety is reporting that Ratner may have been informed of complaints about his behavior as early as 2005. Terri Goddard, a New Line Cinema assistant at the time, told Variety that she and at least one other assistant complained to HR about Ratner and his tendency to make female assistants uncomfortable, ogling them and invading their personal space. Goddard, who came forward to counter the notion that Ratner had never received any complaints, said New Line HR were responsive to her claims and assured her that corrective measures would be taken.
Through another attorney, Andrew Brettler, Ratner denied having ever received notification of the complaint. “Brett wasn’t aware of any report being filed against him by anyone at New Line,” said Brettler. “No one came to Brett to tell him he needed to curb his behavior.”
Goddard said Ratner’s behavior—his unwanted flirting, invasion of personal space, and barrage of personal questions—stopped not long after she reported him, replaced by dirty looks, while a second complainant said that Ratner called her up a few days later, demanding to know why she had lodged the complaint. The complaint he didn’t know about. At least five other former employees from the period told Variety they knew about his behavior.
Warner Bros., of which New Line Cinema is now a division, claims it has no evidence of any 2005 claims against Ratner. Warner Bros., which cut ties with Ratner over the recent high-profile allegations, saying harassment is not tolerated on its projects, has worked closely with the director over the decade since the assistants’ alleged complaints.