Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Brett Ratner at the Wolfgang Puck's Post-Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony Celebration. Photo: Willy Sanjuan / Invision via AP

Six women, including actresses Natasha Henstridge, Olivia Munn and Jaime Ray Newman, have accused famous Hollywood filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct on movie sets, industry events and private homes, per the LA Times. Ratner's lawyer Martin Singer has denied every account.

Why it matters: The accusations against Ratner highlight the awakening that has swept through Hollywood since Harvey Weinstein and other media moguls' years of inappropriate behavior years were put under a microscope.

Details of the allegations:

  • Actress Natasha Henstridge said she was 19 when Ratner, then 20, blocked her from leaving his apartment and began touching himself. He then forced her to perform oral sex. Singer disputed her account.
  • Actress Olivia Munn said Ratner masturbated in front of her in his trailer when she went to deliver a meal. Munn told the Times that Ratner also claimed to others that they had "banged," something he later said wasn't true, and "boasted of ejaculating on magazine covers featuring her image." Singer said Ratner "vehemently disputes" her allegations.
  • Actress Jaime Ray Newman said in 2005 that Ratner swapped seats with his assistant so he could sit next to her on a flight. While in the air, Newman claims Ratner loudly described sex acts he wanted to perform on her in explicit detail. "He was graphically describing giving me oral sex and how he was addicted to it," she said. Singer denied that the incident occurred, referring to it as a "ridiculous claim."
  • Actress Katherine Towne said she met Ratner at a party in 2005 where he came onto her "in a way that was so extreme." When she tried to excuse herself, he followed her into a bathroom. Towne said she gave Ratner her phone number as a way out, and said his assistant called her repeatedly for the next six months to set up a dinner. Singer said the account was "absurd," adding, "Even if hypothetically this incident occurred exactly as claimed, how is flirting at a party, complimenting a woman on her appearance, and calling her to ask her for a date wrongful conduct?"
  • Eri Sasaki, then a 21-year-old part-time model with a role as an extra in one of Ratner's film said she was required to wear a skimpy outfit on set. She claims that Ratner approached her, ran his index finger down her bare stomach and asked if she wanted to go into a bathroom with him. When she said no, she said Ratner said, "Don't you want to be famous?" Singer said Ratner has no recollection of the alleged incident.
  • Jorina King, then a background actress, said Ratner asked her to come to his trailer and demanded to see her breasts. She declined and hid in a restroom. Singer called King's claims "absurd" and "nonsensical."

His defenders' claims:

  • "I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment," Singer said in a 10-page letter to The Times. "Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client."
  • Five of Ratner's former assistants said they never witnessed inappropriate behavior. David Steiman, his assistant from 1999-2004, said he never saw Ratner mistreat women and would be "shocked" if such conduct occurred.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!