Playboy halts Brett Ratner-directed Hugh Hefner film after sex harassment allegations

- Following allegations of sexual harassment or depraved behavior by six women against Brett Ratner, Playboy Enterprises says it is suspending plans to team up with the movie director on a biopic of the company's founder, Hugh Hefner.

The decision to put the project "on hold'' followed a Los Angeles Times article Wednesday that contained allegations by six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, of inappropriate conduct by Ratner, including forcing women to perform sex acts and pleasuring himself in front of them.

"We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner,'' a spokesman for Playboy Enterprises said Wednesday. "We find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. We are putting all further development of our projects with RatPac Entertainment on hold until we are able to review the situation further.''

The filmmakers had announced plans to produce the film, which they hoped would feature Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto as Hefner, who died in September. But now, that is not going to happen, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"Jared Leto is not and was not attached to a Brett Ratner-directed Hugh Hefner film, nor will he be working with him in the future,'' his representative, Robin Baum, said in a statement quoted by The Times.

Ratner's attorney, Marty Singer, has "categorically'' denied all allegations that Ratner engaged in sexual misconduct.

Ratner said in a statement Wednesday that in response to the accusations of inappropriate conduct, he is "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,'' Ratner said, according to The Times.

But The Times reported that Warner Bros. had decided to sever ties with Ratner and would not renew its production deal with him.

Ratner produced such films and TV shows as "Rush Hour,'' "The Revenant,'' "Prison Break,'' and ''Horrible Bosses.'' Now 48, Ratner has long flaunted his playboy persona, bragging publicly about his sexual prowess, according to The Times. He has been romantically linked to Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Mariah Carey.

The women quoted by The Times were actresses Natasha Henstridge, Olivia Munn, Jaime Ray Newman,  Katharine Towne, aspiring singer Eri Sasaki and background actress Jorina King.

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