fbpx
Sunday, September 27, 2020

The morning after: What I learned from Brett Ratner hitting on me

Every time I see the director Brett Ratner I remind him who I am.

“Danielle Berrin, from The Jewish Journal.”

For starters, I figure the lecherous lothario could use some help keeping tabs on all the women in his life. But second, I want to remind him that if he acts like a jerk, I could wind up writing something like this:

I’ve been cornered downstairs in the gold lamé disco basement at Brett Ratner’s house and he’s hitting on me.

That was the opening line of a profile I wrote of Ratner in October 2008. I worked hard to persuade him to interview with me, but not that hard, since the very first time I met him, at an event at American Jewish University, he gave me his phone number.

My M.O. after that was turn his own trick right back on him: Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

That line is part of the Brett-Ratner-rise-in-Hollywood mythology – and has been referenced countless times (see: Entourage, profiles etc.). But it’s also part of the mythology of Brett Ratner the man: He doesn’t take ‘no.’ He has no boundaries. He does whatever the heck he wants. It’s part of his big-Hollywood-director cache. And most of the time, he gets away with it.

Not anymore.

My guess is that if it were up to Brett Ratner The Man, and not Brett Ratner The Director, to get women to like him, he could have played The Forty-Year-Old-Virgin instead of Steve Carrell. And not because he’s modest and cute and shy; because he’s disrespectful and smarmy and childish.

Every time I see Brett Ratner, he hits on me again. Though only after he insults me: “You’re still at the Jewish Journal? Your piece on me was supposed to advance your career.” (Editor’s note: It did. I got salaried and health insurance.)

The last time I saw him, at the Museum of Tolerance dinner honoring Tom Cruise, he said, “You’re cute, but can you cook?”

Months later, I texted him to ask for an interview about “Tower Heist” (which he did not grant) and to maybe do a live Q-and-A with me in advance of the Oscar cast he was supposed to produce. I asked if we could have lunch and talk it over. He only wanted to know if I still had a boyfriend.

After all this, I figure, ‘This is his shtick. This is what he does. This is who he is.’ But when I read what he says about other women, how he humiliates them with the bully pulpit he doesn’t deserve – for example, he referred to Olivia Munn, who at the age of 30 has accomplished more than most, as a “whore” and revealed to Howard Stern that he forced Lindsay Lohan, who has enough problems, to get checked for sexually transmitted diseases before he would sleep with her—I get angry.

Then I feel inclined to say things like this: If Lindsay Lohan was infected with the Ebola virus, Ratner would be lucky to get five minutes in a room with her.

But admittedly, I have Ratner baggage. When I look back on my first big Hollywood interview, I remember sitting on Ratner’s couch, with a handful of people around, watching Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, and repeatedly removing Ratner’s hands from between my legs.

I was a young, inexperienced journalist then, and told myself that getting the story was more important than my dignity. So in a big way, I’m grateful to Brett Ratner – because the very same profile that got me a full-time reporting job was also the one that taught me that no story is worth compromising my integrity. I should have slapped him and stormed from the house. It would have been cinematic.

It is precisely because movies represent some imaginative ideal that the movie industry should have standards. Lots of directors get away with way worse than Ratner – Roman Polanski comes to mind, for example. Famous people tend to get away with things, because they’re famous and they can.

Today was the first day Brett Ratner didn’t get away with it.

Earlier today, I wrote that I didn’t care whether Ratner produced the Oscars or not, but in the dark of evening, long after the sun has set, I applaud the Academy for taking a stand – for standing for something.

It was a Jewish thing to do.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Israel File Appendix: Numbers under Lockdown

The weighted average below takes into account three factors: the timing of the poll (more recent, more important); the number of people surveyed (more...

It’s Time to Look at Palestinian-Israeli Conflict With Fresh Eyes

How the Abraham Accords were achieved and what the “Palestinian cause” now requires.

Can We Forgive Each Other in the Midst of a Tribal Culture War?

At a time when Jews are supposed to look within and admit fault, too many of us are virtue signaling and delegitimizing our opponents. Can we stop?

150-Year-Old Time Capsule Found in a Wall of Oldest Synagogue in British City

Construction workers at the site of a former Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Manchester, England, found a time capsule from the 1870s.

What Does it Mean to Have a Deeper Yom Kippur?

Rosh Hashanah begins the work. Yom Kippur seals it. But only if you are willing to go deep.

Lisa Edelstein Joins the Cast of ‘ 9-1-1 Lone Star’

Lisa Edelstein (“House,” “The Good Doctor”) has joined the cast of FOX’s “9-1-1 Lone Star” as the ex-wife of the fire captain played by...

AOC Withdraws From Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Event Following Pro-Palestinian Criticism

The event will be held in October by Americans for Peace Now.

Report Highlights Anti-Semitism in Qatari Textbooks

One textbook called Zionism "a radical racist political movement."

Netanyahu’s Waning Legacy

Many Israelis now believe that everything Netanyahu is doing is only meant to save him from trial, even at the cost of curbing Israeli democracy.

Culture

Lisa Edelstein Joins the Cast of ‘ 9-1-1 Lone Star’

Lisa Edelstein (“House,” “The Good Doctor”) has joined the cast of FOX’s “9-1-1 Lone Star” as the ex-wife of the fire captain played by...

Prosecutors Drop Solicitation Charges Against Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

They said they didn't have a case when they couldn't use a video for their case.

‘RBG’ Filmmaker Julie Cohen on Justice Ginsburg’s Death: ‘I Was Stunned’

Cohen made her comments during a Zoom event with Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Executive Director Hilary Helstein on Sept. 24. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen on Guiding North Carolina’s Pandemic Response Wearing a Chai Necklace

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Mandy Cohen has provided steady guidance to the people of North Carolina. As the secretary of the North Carolina...

The Sweetness of Yom Kippurs Past

Sharon Gomperts: My family is visiting the apartment building in Israel where my uncles and their families live. I awake in the middle of...

Latest Articles
Latest

Israel File Appendix: Numbers under Lockdown

The weighted average below takes into account three factors: the timing of the poll (more recent, more important); the number of people surveyed (more...

It’s Time to Look at Palestinian-Israeli Conflict With Fresh Eyes

How the Abraham Accords were achieved and what the “Palestinian cause” now requires.

Can We Forgive Each Other in the Midst of a Tribal Culture War?

At a time when Jews are supposed to look within and admit fault, too many of us are virtue signaling and delegitimizing our opponents. Can we stop?

150-Year-Old Time Capsule Found in a Wall of Oldest Synagogue in British City

Construction workers at the site of a former Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Manchester, England, found a time capsule from the 1870s.

What Does it Mean to Have a Deeper Yom Kippur?

Rosh Hashanah begins the work. Yom Kippur seals it. But only if you are willing to go deep.

Hollywood

‘Dirty Dancing’ Sequel Starring Jennifer Grey Announced

It’s official: A “Dirty Dancing” sequel is coming, and it’s starring Jewish actress Jennifer Grey, who played Frances “Baby” Houseman in the 1987 original.

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Over Being Pranked Can Proceed, Judge Rules

By the time the episode aired, it was widely known that Cohen was punking public figures.

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 90: Yom Kippur in a Pandemic Can Be Our Most Meaningful

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. Reflections from Rabbi Mordecai Finley on going deep on Judaism's holiest day. How do we manage our lives...

Pandemic Times Episode 89: Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. Reflections on the life and legacy of a Jewish and American hero. How do we manage our lives...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x