Entertainment

Cuban-American Director Brett Ratner Accused Of Sexual Assault By 6 Actresses

In an explosive article from The Los Angeles Times, six women have come forward claiming that Cuban-American director Brett Ratner sexually assaulted and/or harassed them. After The New York Times and The New Yorker released stories detailing abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, more stories came out about prominent men in Hollywood, including director James Toback and actor Kevin Spacey.

Ratner, 48, has directed movies that include the “Rush Hour” franchise as well as “The Family Man,” “Red Dragon,” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

The women spoke in detail about their claims against Ratner.

Actress Olivia Munn said that in 2004, Ratner masturbated in front of her. 

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Munn had previously written about the incident in 2010 without naming Ratner. A year later, Ratner revealed he was the person in question and then claimed he slept with Munn. In an interview with Howard Stern, Ratner later admitted he lied about having a sexual relationship with Munn.

“It feels as if I keep going up against the same bully at school who just won’t quit,” Munn told The Los Angeles Times. “You just hope that enough people believe the truth and for enough time to pass so that you can’t be connected to him anymore.”

Natasha Henstridge said she was 19 when Ratner forced himself on her. 

He strong-armed me in a real way,” Henstridge told the Times. “He physically forced himself on me. At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”

Jaime Ray Newman said Ratner sat next to her on a flight and told her was addicted to oral sex.

Newman said she was on a flight in 2005 when Ratner asked to be seated next to her. Newman alleges that Ratner disclosed incredibly obscene things to her, including that he was addicted to oral sex. They had never met before.

He was graphically describing giving me oral sex and how he was addicted to it,” Newman told the Times.

Katharine Towne said Ratner followed her into a bathroom in 2005.

“He started to come on to me in a way that was so extreme,” Towne told the Times. “I think it’s pretty aggressive to go in the bathroom with someone you don’t know and close the door.”

Ratner’s lawyer, Martin Singer, responded to this claim by saying: “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?”

Two other actresses who appeared as extras in “Rush Hour 2” claim that Ratner promised to give them speaking parts in the film in exchange for sexual favors.

In response to all the claims, Ratner’s lawyer, Martin Singer, denied all accusations.

READ: It’s Time For Men To Step Up And Call Out Their Homies About Sexual Harassment And Assault

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Here’s The Mexican Immigrant Who Voiced Peanuts’ Snoopy And Woodstock

Entertainment

Here’s The Mexican Immigrant Who Voiced Peanuts’ Snoopy And Woodstock

George Napolitano / FilmMagic

The more we dig, the more we are all learning of the Latinos who made the world what it is today. There are few places that have as many of these discoveries as entertainment. One often forgotten Latino trailblazer is José Cuauhtémoc “Bill” Meléndez who helped to create the most iconic cartoon special ever.

José Cuauhtémoc “Bill” Meléndez gifted us “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Meléndez worked closely with Charles Schulz to help create the animated Charlie Brown classics we all know and love today. Born in Mexico, Meléndez had a storied career in entertainment and made a name for himself in the animation world. Meléndez was part of four Walt Disney classics: “Dumbo,” “Bambi,” “Pinocchio,” and “Fantasia.”

Meléndez became Snoopy’s voice by accident.

Meléndez was not cast to voice Snoopy. He worked with Schulz to created the animated works of Charlie Brown while Schulz focused on the comic strips. The two worked with an understanding that one could not do what the other brought to the table.

In an interview in the Archive of American Television, Meléndez tells the story of how he became the voice of Snoopy. It was nothing more than luck and a fast approaching deadline that make him the voice of America’s most popular canine.

“Happy accident. When we first started animating Snoopy and I wen to Schulz and I said, ‘You know, he talks. He’s got these balloons,” Meléndez says in the interview. “I had a whimsical actor here in Hollywood who had a great voice and I said to everybody, ‘This guy’s voice would be perfect for Snoopy. He should talk for Snoopy.’ I made some recordings of him reading some of the lines of Snoopy and I took them up the Schulz and he says, ‘What’s this?’ I said, ‘A voice for Snoopy.’”

Schulz was originally against Snoopy talking because he is a dog.

“So I went home and I said, ‘Well. Arf. Arf.’ I started making noises to imitate something that maybe I could give to an actor to use for him. I came up with an idea,” Meléndez recalls in the interview. “There was a lot of dialogue that Snoopy was talking, like in the classroom. So I said, ‘Let’s record this.’ I had them record at one-quarter speed. So I start saying, ‘Well, Charlie Brown. You are wrong. The teacher says for you to it down and to drop that ball.’ Then I told the engineer to run that fast for me. he ran it fast until he finally ran it at one-quarter speed and I said, ‘That’s it. That’s our voice for Snoopy.’”

The rest, as Meléndez says, is history.

Just another example of that Latino excellence that has always been here.

The Charlie Brown classic movies are part of so many holiday traditions. Fortunately, after a brief scare, they are all available to watch this year on television. Apple+ currently owns the specials but has decided to allow PBS and PBS Kids to air the specials this year. You can watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas Special” on Apple+ from Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 11-13, respectively.

You can check out part of Meléndez’s interview below.

READ: Here Are Some Of Latin America’s Most Popular Comic Books That All Comic Book Fans Should Know

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ICE Just Deported A Key Witness in A Sexual Assault Investigation Against Them

Things That Matter

ICE Just Deported A Key Witness in A Sexual Assault Investigation Against Them

According to the Texas Tribune, the key witness in the ongoing sexual assault investigation at an ICE detention center has been deported. She was previously being held at a Customs Enforcement detention center in El Paso, Texas.

While the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General initially forbid ICE from deporting her, the office apparently reversed their decision on Monday. According to reports, the office determined that “further interviews could be done over the phone”.

via Getty Images

According to previous reports, the unidentified 35-year-old woman alleged that guards had “forcibly kissed” her and touched her on the private parts.

Documents, which were extensively reported on by ProPublica, described the harassment as a “pattern and practice” at this particular detention center.

The woman also alleges that the guards would attempt to extort sexual favors from her and other detainees when they were returning from the medical unit back to her barrack. One guard allegedly told her that he would help get her released “if she behaved”.

The unnamed woman reported the harrasment to her lawyers who then filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. The DHS then opened an investigation into the ICE Detention Center in El Paso.

The FBI has, since then, interviewed the woman extensively. According to documents, the woman gave investigators a tour of the facility where she showed them where the alleged harassment took place–in what were identified as security camera “blind spots”.

According to her, the guard told her that if she reported him, “No one would believe her”.

via Getty Images

Since the woman made these accusations, at least two other women at the same detention center came forward with similar claims. One of these women has already been deported.

According to previous reports, the unnamed woman accusing ICE officials of sexual assault was being held at the El Paso detention center for a drug-related crime and illegally entering the country. She claims she initially fled Mexico after a cartel member sexually assaulted and threatened her.

While ICE says that they have “zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse or assault against individuals in the agency’s custody”, the reality is much bleaker.

According to the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants, ICE has had 14,700 complaints filed against them between 2010 and 2016 alleging sexual and/or physical abuse.

In the most recent statistics available, ICE reported 374 formal accusations of sexual assault in 2018. Forty-eight of those were substantiated by the agency and 29 were still pending an investigation. According to Freedom for Immigrants, only a fraction of these complaints are investigated by the Office of Inspector General.

The woman’s lawyer, Linda Corchado, has not been shy about expressing her displeasure over her client’s deportation.

“[The government] allowed their most powerful witness to be deported,” Corchado said. “How can we possibly take this investigation seriously now or ever pretend that it ever was from the outset?”

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