Brow Beat

Warner Bros. Severs Ties to Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment Kevin Tsujihara attend the Venice Family Clinic Silver Circle Gala 2016 honoring Brett Ratner and Bill Flumenbaum at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 7, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In the wake of numerous accusations of sexual misconduct against producer and director Brett Ratner, Warner Bros. has severed ties with him, according to the Hollywood Reporter. This is swift action from the studio: the allegations against Ratner became public Wednesday morning in the Los Angeles Times. It’s also a case of who fired whom: less than an hour before Warner Bros. confirmed they had cut ties with Ratner, the director, who disputes his accusers’ versions of events, released his own statement casting the decision as his:

In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.-related activities. I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.

Regardless of whose idea it was, Warner Bros. and Ratner are making as clean a break as possible, given the numerous ways their finances are entangled. Warner Bros. will not renew Ratner’s already expired first-look deal, and he’ll also lose the offices on the Warner Bros. lot where RatPac Entertainment is headquartered. What’s more, he’s being taken off the Warner Bros. adaptation of The Goldfinch, the one film on the studio’s slate on which he was serving as a producer.

Warner Bros.’ involvement with film financing fund RatPac-Dune Entertainment, however, is a little more complicated. RatPac-Dune Entertainment was founded in 2013 as a joint venture between Ratner, Australian billionaire James Packer, and none other than Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of Trump Administration fame. At the time, Warner Bros. was looking for funding after their deal with Legendary Entertainment ended. The company is still financing the following upcoming Warner Bros. movies:

Packer is no longer part of the business; another billionaire, Len Blavatnik, replaced him. In February, Mnuchin wrote that he planned to divest from RatPac-Dune Enertainment with 120 days of being confirmed by the Senate as Treasury Secretary; he was confirmed on Feb. 13, so that should have happened by May 24. Silent investors in RatPac-Dune Entertainment reportedly include the Koch Brothers and Bill Gates. Warner Bros. will continue to honor the RatPac-Dune Entertainment deal until it expires in March of 2018.

Earlier in the day, Playboy Enterprises announced it was holding off on any projects with Ratner, including a planned biopic of Hugh Hefner. Ratner is the latest in a series of high profile men facing allegations of sexual misconduct since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, and his rapid fall from grace stands in marked contrast to past harassment scandals, which, in one closely-watched case, led to the presidency. How does Steven Mnuchin keep getting mixed up with these people?