Brett Ratner, the man behind Hollywood blockbusters X-Men: The Last Stand, Rush Hour, and others, is suing one of the women accusing him of sexual misconduct for defamation.
Ratner filed his lawsuit against Melanie Kohler, who said on Facebook that he raped her 12 years ago. She posted her story more than a week before a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday that detailed allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the director-producer by six other women, including actor Olivia Munn.
Ratner and his legal team have vigorously denied the allegations, but he filed a lawsuit against Kohler in Hawaii, where she lives, claiming she posted “deliberately false and malicious accusations" against him on Facebook, according to the complaint.
On Oct. 20, Kohler posted that Ratner “was a rapist on at least one night in Hollywood about 12 years ago." She also wrote that Ratner "preyed on me as a drunk girl [and] forced himself upon me,” raping her, according to the complaint.
Ratner claims in his lawsuit that the statements are “entirely false, fabricated, and fictional," and is demanding a jury trial for punitive and other damages.
It's a legal tactic similar to that deployed by Bill Cosby, who sued multiple of his sex assault accusers for defamation, claiming their allegations were "malicious, opportunistic, and false."
"The goal of these lawsuits is to intimidate women," said Bill Burton, a spokesman for Kohler. "Our goal is to stop the behavior. Melanie will not be intimidated."
Marty Singer, Ratner's attorney who also represented Cosby, has "categorically" denied all the allegations in a detailed statement to the LA Times.
Singer and other representatives for Ratner did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment on his lawsuit.
But Kohler's attorney, Robbie Kaplan, said in a statement that Ratner's lawsuit was just another tactic to strong-arm his alleged victims into silence.
“We always knew that they would pick one woman to victimize further in an effort to bully other women into silence," Kaplan said. "Mr. Ratner and his lawyers can try to erase the truth through threats and intimidation, but courts decide cases based on the facts and the law. So our message to Mr. Ratner and his lawyer is short and simple: See you in court."
Meanwhile, the professional fallout for Ratner started soon after the LA Times report was published, with the X-Men director later that same day saying he would step away from his work with Warner Bros. studio.
"In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.-related activities," he said in a statement. "I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved."
Read Ratner's lawsuit here:
Claudia Rosenbaum is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Rosenbaum at email@example.com.
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