Gal Gadot has announced that she won’t go forward with Wonder Woman 2 unless Warner Brothers cancels its co-financing deal with accused sexual assailant/director Brett Ratner, whose company RatPac Entertainment co-produced, and profited from, the first film. RatPac-Dune, a joint venture with Dune Entertainment, also co-produced Justice League in which Gal Gadot stars.
Ratner has been accused by six women, including Olivia Munn, of sexual harassment and misconduct; another accused him of rape; and most recently Ellen Page claimed that he outed her and humiliated her for her sexuality on set. After her initial report, Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman says she has been contacted by 45 more individuals with allegations.
Ratner has already made the “personal” choice to split from Warner Brothers, for the good of the company, he says:
“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.”
It’s unclear what that really means aside from the fact, Deadline has reported, that his office has been moved from the studio lot, he’s off the Goldfinch project, and the company has cancelled his first-look deal which gave RatPac Entertainment first choice over funding their movies.
Gal Gadot has Warner Bros. by the balls, since they’ve publicly taken the high road and have started their own investigation. A “Warner Bros. insider” told Page Six that Gadot “knows that Warner Bros. has to side with her on this issue as it develops. They can’t have a movie rooted in women’s empowerment being part-financed by a man accused of sexual misconduct against women.”
The deal is more nefarious than that, and it’s a point that’s always kind of undermined the film’s message of female empowerment. Deadline has noted that the RatPac Entertainment deal was originally struck by Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary for the most all-male, all-white administration in 20 years. (And has generally been terrible to women). Deadline wrote:
From a business side, the potential stakes are high, as studios have been quick to distance themselves from the growing list of bad boys being outed in press reports since the revelation of sexually predatory behavior by Harvey Weinstein. It stands to reason that Warner Bros will scrutinize this closely: the corporation is in the midst of an acquisition by AT&T. The transaction has been the subject of scrutiny by the Trump Administration, which has no affinity for Hollywood even though current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin put together the original RatPac Dune co-fi deal along with Ratner and James Packer. The scurrilous details about Ratner, a fulcrum for the investment in the majority of the studio’s global tent pole pictures, cannot have come at a worse time.
But maybe the time is ripe. Since 2013, Deadline has reported, Ratner’s company RatPac Entertainment has financed several Warner Bros. blockbusters including Gravity, two LEGO movies, and It, with the original deal aiming to co-finance 75 films. Deadline has reported that the deal effectively extends through March 2018. Whatever the terms, hopefully this signals a new twist in the sexual abuse news cycle and becomes the authentic empowerment story in which the women leverage their powers combined.