Kohler wrote a Facebook post on Oct. 20, 2017, in which she accused Ratner of “preying on me as a drunk girl at a club” in 2004 or 2005. She had alleged that Ratner took her to Bob Evans’ house and “forced himself upon me after I said no and no and no again.” Kohler deleted the post within two hours, after receiving a call from Martin Singer, Ratner’s attorney.
Ratner filed a libel suit against her in federal court in Hawaii on Nov. 1, the same day the L.A. Times reported that six other women had accused him of sexual misconduct. Warner Bros. also cut ties with the prolific director and producer on the same day. Kohler’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, argued that Ratner was seeking to intimidate other women who might be thinking of coming forward.
Kaplan said in a statement Tuesday, “This is a win for women everywhere. We are proud of our client, who stood by her statement and stood up for herself in court, and appreciate Mr. Ratner dismissing this case.”
Kaplan had filed a motion to dismiss Ratner’s suit, which was denied in February. Both sides have since been readying for a hearing on Kohler’s motion to strike the case under the anti-SLAPP statute, which protects public debate.
Ratner’s side sought to question Kohler in a deposition, but the judge allowed them to pose questions only in writing.
Earlier reports had indicated that there was confusion over Kohler’s memory of the events, but it was subsequently clarified that she stands by her original accusation.
In an initial statement to Deadline, since retracted, Singer said that Kaplan had acknowledged that her client’s memories are unclear, and that Ratner had agreed to drop the case. “Since Ms. Kohler’s attorney has stated that her client’s memories are cloudy and unclear about alleged events from more than a decade ago, Mr. Ratner agreed to dismiss his lawsuit,” Singer said.
Singer’s firm subsequently withdrew that statement, and replaced it with a more tight-lipped comment from Ratner: “I’m happy that the matter has been resolved.” The firm added that no money changed hands as part of the settlement.
In Kaplan’s initial statement to Deadline, the attorney had said, “Cases like this are very difficult, especially when the events happened more than a decade ago and memories are cloudy and unclear. The public conversation about this case has become very painful for Melanie. This result will allow Melanie to move on with her life and spend more time with her family.”
Kohler acknowledged the uncertainty of her memories in her original Facebook post. After the alleged rape, she wrote, “The rest of the night is fuzzy, I must have stumbled out of the house and called a cab and I went home and erased it from my mind.”