Brett Ratner has filed a libel lawsuit against a woman, Melanie Kohler, who claimed the director raped her over a decade ago.
Kohler leveled her accusation against Ratner on Facebook over a week before the Los Angeles Times published a story Wednesday in which six women, including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused the director-producer of sexual misconduct.
Ratner filed his complaint against Kohler in Hawaii federal court Wednesday. He denied the allegations, calling them “deliberately false and malicious,” and claimed the Facebook post qualified as “libel per se.” The statement argues that Kohler published the post “with knowledge of its falsity, maliciously, and with the intent to harm [Ratner’s] reputation and standing.”
Ratner claimed Kohler’s allegations caused harm to his personal and professional reputations. He is seeking special and general damages, punitive damages and reimbursement for his legal fees, as well as any further relief the court might deem appropriate.
Ratner’s court documents include details from Kohler’s original Facebook post. The suit quotes Kohler’s claim that “‘Ratner was a rapist on at least one night in Hollywood about 12 years ago'” and that Ratner “‘preyed on me as a drunk girl [and] forced himself upon me.'”
Kohler was not one of the six women who spoke to the Los Angeles Times for their story about Ratner. The director-producer “vehemently” denied the allegations in the piece. After its publication, however, Ratner parted ways with Warner Bros., with whom he had a first-look deal.
“In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.-related activities,” Ratner said in a statement. “I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.”
Ratner’s lawyer and rep did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Immediate attempts to reach Kohler were unsuccessful.