A former employee of the Endeavor Talent Agency detailed a rape accusation against producer Brett Ratner in a Facebook post obtained by Variety. The allegation is the subject of a libel suit Ratner leveled against the woman, Melanie Kohler, on Wednesday.
Ratner was accused Wednesday of sexual harassment by six other women in a report in the Los Angeles Times.
According to the suit, which quotes short excerpts from the Oct. 20 post, she alleged that Ratner “preyed” on her when she was drunk at a club. The lawsuit calls the rape allegation “deliberately false and malicious.” The post was quickly deleted following a threat of litigation from Ratner’s lawyer.
In the post, Kohler says Ratner took her back to the home of producer Robert Evans and forced himself on her, even after she repeatedly said “no.” Ratner was living at Evans’ home at the time, according to his attorney, Marty Singer.
She wrote that Ratner is not a “public monster” and may treat the “somebodies” of the world with respect. But she said she was writing so that “he can be accountable for the way he’s treated the nobodies of the world or at least the way he treated me.” As alleged in the lawsuit, she wrote that Ratner “was a predator and a rapist on at least one night in Hollywood about 12 years ago.”
According to Kohler, she never told anyone what happened, not even her closest friends at the time of the incident. She said she decided to speak out in the wake of the Weinstein revelations in hopes of changing the culture of America and of Hollywood.
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“I’m embarrassed, humiliated, ashamed, and wish I could go back to forgetting it ever happened,” she wrote. “But if I do that, if we all do that, then it keeps happening. We have to come forward. I can’t be an advocate for women speaking out if I don’t speak out, too. … Brett Ratner raped me. I’m saying his name, I’m saying it publicly. Now at least I can look at myself in the mirror and not feel like part of me is a coward or a hypocrite. I’m standing up and saying this happened to me and it was not ok. Come what may, it is the right thing to do.”
Singer, Ratner’s attorney, told Variety on Tuesday that he intended to sue Kohler.
“He did not rape this girl,” Singer said. “It’s completely fabricated. … The story doesn’t make any sense.”
The suit, filed in Hawaii federal court, came on the same day the L.A. Times reported that six other women accused Ratner of various forms of sexual misconduct. Natasha Henstridge alleged that Ratner cornered her in his home in the early 1990s and forced her to perform oral sex. Actress Olivia Munn said Ratner masturbated in front of her on a film set.
On Tuesday, Singer told Variety Kohler had detailed a different version of events than the one related in the Facebook post.
Kohler lives in Hawaii, where she and her husband operate a scuba school. She has recently retained attorney Roberta Kaplan, who argued the landmark gay rights case United States v. Windsor at the Supreme Court. She has also hired SKDKnickerbocker to handle communications.
Singer said shortly after the post went up, he contacted her and advised her that it defamed Ratner.
“I didn’t threaten her,” he said. “I said she can be sued if she didn’t take it down.”
Kohler quickly took down the post, though screenshots of it have circulated around Hollywood since then. She later posted an explanation: “Today was explained to me in five words: Lawyer up or shut up.”
The lawsuit alleges that Kohler’s post caused Ratner to suffer “emotional distress, worry, anger, and anxiety,” and had damaged his personal and professional reputation.
On Wednesday, following the L.A. Times report, Warner Bros. severed ties with Ratner, who is CEO of RatPac Entertainment.