Wiesenthal Center Voices ‘Distress’ After Ratner Allegations
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has expressed concern about allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Hollywood producer and director Brett Ratner, who serves on its board.
“Our Center has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” the center said in a Nov. 3 statement. “We are deeply distressed by these reports and we will be following the developments closely.”
The Los Angeles Times reported Nov. 1 that six women had come forward with accusations against Ratner.
“Our Center has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.” — Wiesenthal Center statement
Wiesenthal Center Communications Director Michele Alkin said on Nov. 6 that the organization’s board plans to discuss the accusations against Ratner during a regularly scheduled meeting next week.
The center is one of at least two Jewish organizations with which Ratner has ties. He is also a supporter of Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) Alexander Muss High School in Israel. JNF honored Ratner Oct. 29 at its Tree of Life dinner.
JNF did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the allegations and its decision to honor him.
In a 2008 Journal story, writer Danielle Berrin said Ratner had made unwanted sexual advances as she attempted to interview him in his home.
In 2011, he resigned as producer of the Academy Awards after he came under fire for making an anti-gay slur during an interview.
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, who is Israeli, had been scheduled to to present Ratner with the JNF award, but backed out, citing a scheduling conflict. That decision caused speculation that she was distancing herself from Ratner.
“Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, filling in for Gadot, told the JNF audience that Ratner supported her early in her career, asking nothing in return. Ratner “singlehandedly made my presence here as a director possible,” she said in presenting the award.
Ratner, who is Jewish, is one of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers. The website of his entertainment company, RatPac Entertainment, says his films have grossed more than $2 billion. The movies include the “Rush Hour” franchise, “Horrible Bosses” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
He is one of several Jewish figures in Hollywood and other industries facing recent accusations of inappropriate behavior toward women. Others include disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein and actors Dustin Hoffman and Jeremy Piven. The allegations against Weinstein have spurred the #MeToo social-media campaign, with women recounting alleged sexual assault or undesired attention from men.
Literary editor Leon Wieseltier, journalist Mark Halperin and screenwriter James Toback have also faced accusations.
None of the allegations has led to criminal charges. Ratner, through his attorney, has disputed the accusations against him, the Los Angeles Times reported.