In 2006, Ellen Page appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand, one of the worst of the X-Men series. That was the film helmed by director Brett Ratner, and it was and is widely seen as one of the worst entries in the franchise. Ellen played Kitty Pryde, a young mutant at Professor X’s school for mutants. She was 18 years old when she filmed it. And Ellen has some awful stories about Brett Ratner. She wrote a lengthy Facebook post about Ratner and a lot more – you can read the full piece here. Here’s the Ratner part of it:
“You should f–k her to make her realize she’s gay.” He said this about me during a cast and crew “meet and greet” before we began filming, X Men: The Last Stand. I was eighteen years old. He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: “You should f–k her to make her realize she’s gay.” He was the film’s director, Brett Ratner.
I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He “outed” me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic. I proceeded to watch him on set say degrading things to women. I remember a woman walking by the monitor as he made a comment about her “flappy p–sy”.
We are all entitled to come into an awareness of our sexual orientation privately and on our own terms. I was young and although already a working actor for so long I had in many ways been insulated, growing up on film sets instead of surrounded by my peers. This public, aggressive outing left me with long standing feelings of shame, one of the most destructive results of homophobia. Making someone feel ashamed of who they are is a cruel manipulation, designed to oppress and repress. I was robbed of more than autonomy over my ability to define myself.
Ratner’s comment replayed in my mind many times over the years as I encountered homophobia and coped with feelings of reluctance and uncertainty about the industry and my future in it. The difference is that I can now assert myself and use my voice to to fight back against the insidious queer and transphobic attitude in Hollywood and beyond. Hopefully having the position I have, I can help people who may be struggling to be accepted and allowed to be who they are –to thrive. Vulnerable young people without my advantages are so often diminished and made to feel they have no options for living the life they were meant to joyously lead.
I got into an altercation with Brett at a certain point. He was pressuring me, in front of many people, to don a t-shirt with “Team Ratner” on it. I said no and he insisted. I responded, “I am not on your team.” Later in the day, producers of the film came to my trailer to say that I “couldn’t talk like that to him.” I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we all witnessed. I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen and had no tools to know how to handle the situation.
I believe Ellen Page. I also believe that dozens (if not hundreds) of actors and below-the-line talent probably have similar stories about Brett Ratner’s behavior, his assault, his general grossness, his casual sexism, misogyny and homophobia. Lest we forget, he was basically fired from producing the Oscars because he said “rehearsal is for f-gs.” Also: Anna Paquin remembers the day Ratner outed Ellen too:
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) November 10, 2017
In the rest of Ellen’s Facebook post (which you really should read in its entirety), Ellen also details some awful sexual harassment she faced as a teenager in the industry, with grown men fondling her leg when she was just 16, or when a director asked her to sleep with a man and then tell him about it. She applies her experiences to the larger experiences of marginalized communities, whether it’s trans women, women of color and more, making a plea to empower their voices as well. Add to all of that, she apologizes for appearing in a Woody Allen film, writing: “I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my career. I am ashamed I did this. I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’ Ultimately, however, it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong choice. I made an awful mistake.” That’s more than anyone else has said about working with Woody.
Photos courtesy of WENN.