Amy Heckerling on Chris Kattan: ‘He’s a nut…I have nothing to say about him’

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In May, excerpts from Chris Kattan’s memoir Baby Don’t Hurt Me began to make the rounds. Kattan obviously wrote about his life and his career, his time on Saturday Night Live and his experiences making some movies. Kattan claimed in the book that director Amy Heckerling had made a pass at him, which he rebuffed, and then somehow Lorne Michaels heard about it and Michaels ordered/asked him to sleep with Heckerling so she would direct A Night at the Roxbury (which she did not end up directing anyway). Kattan claimed he later did sleep with Heckerling and it was a “casting couch” situation, only Heckerling’s daughter came out and said actually, Kattan and Heckerling were in a relationship and their affair ruined Heckerling’s engagement to Bronson Pinchot. Heckerling’s daughter also said that it was Kattan who was rude and unpleasant to her mom, etc.

Many people were like “why doesn’t Amy Heckerling just come out and talk about this directly?” I wondered that too, but after a month of silence from Heckerling and Lorne Michaels, I guess they were just hoping the story would die. Heckerling did sit down recently with the Daily Beast for an interview about her career, how her films came together and all of that, and they asked about Kattan’s claims. This is what she said:

Daily Beast: So I know this is a little awkward but I have to ask about a story that recently came out, Chris Kattan claims in his memoir—

AH: Ugh, I didn’t read it. He’s a nut. You know, I don’t comment about that, because basically I have no interest in helping his book sales. I don’t even want to know or hear the dumb sh-t he came up with.

DB: Well he claims that Lorne Michaels pressured him into having sex with you so that you would stay on A Night at the Roxbury.

AH: No, I have nothing to say about him or his idiot book. I don’t feel like helping him at all.

[From The Daily Beast]

Is this the best way to go? Eh. I still would have preferred more clarity about what actually happened, but I guess that’s why Heckerling’s daughter made her statement. I don’t know… I still don’t completely understand how the making of that idiotic ‘90s film A Night at the Roxbury is some hot-bed of controversy.

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33 Responses to “Amy Heckerling on Chris Kattan: ‘He’s a nut…I have nothing to say about him’”

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  1. S says:

    I have no idea what happened between them—it sounds messy, no matter how it started—but Heckerling’s response is definitely “correct,” in that if she truly doesn’t want to give Kattan’s book any fuel or press, this is the way to go—full no comment. It’s uninteresting, and won’t make headlines, unlike a denial or explanation.

    It’d probably be even better, in the starving-the-story-of-oxygen sense, if her daughter hadn’t commented either, but hard not to understand the impetus to defend someone you love when you feel, rightly to wrongly, that they’re being publicly maligned.

    • Wilady says:

      I just imagine her words coming from Harvey’s mouth, about a female actress.

      It’s just not the classiest move or the best way to address allegations, personally.

      It’s hard because I’ve been assaulted so my views are skewed, but it’s not fair to purely believe women. Equality is equality, even when it’s not favorable. It’s uncomfortable though, for sure, for her to navigate, but I don’t think “idiot book” and “nut” were the way to go at all.

      • S says:

        The reason I put “correct” in quotes was that it’s definitely the right way to try and kill the story, not that it’s the proper way to talk about someone you once slept with.

        As I said below, both Heckerling and Kattan seem to have … issues, and while there was an age and, perhaps, power imbalance, the latter isn’t totally clear. Sure, Heckerling’s career was on a post-Clueless upswing, but she still didn’t make a movie again for 5 years after its release, so hardly white hot. Kattan was 28-years-old and at the peak of his SNL “fame” when he made Roxbury, which Heckerling, again, did NOT end up directing. Older female directors in Hollywood don’t usually have much of a power advantage over up-and-coming male actors, even comedians, and Kattan both wasn’t a kid, nor was he relying on Heckerling to cast him. (The part was already his creation.)

        It just feels more like a messy mess of a relationship between two less-than-stable people who saw it very differently, rather than a true “casting couch” story. Heckerling literally had no power over Kattan getting/not getting the part, nor the movie itself being made (it was made without her). Lorne Michaels was the one in the real power position over Kattan in this situation.

  2. Sara says:

    Lovely calling him a nut. Why should we only give alleged women victims the benefit of the doubt?

  3. Rapunzel says:

    I’m fine with no comment, but calling him a nut? Not cool. And saying he has an “idiot book” also not cool. She sounds like a person trying to label her accuser as unstable and dumb. That is abuser tactics. It just reinforces the accusations, imo, even if they’re not true.

  4. Hoopjumper says:

    I think he’s telling the truth. She cuts off the interviewer, claiming she didn’t read it? Please. She knew exactly what they were about to ask, and is doing a classic “He’s just trying to sell books, I am so above all this” BS nondenial.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      I agree. She’s pulling the same shit male abusers have done when women have come forward. We believe those women, we should believe Chris.

  5. Sassbr says:

    It did become kind of a non-story because they didn’t address it. I think Kattan *is* a nut and is just not well-liked enough for anyone to go to bat for him or put effort into standing up for him, even in this climate. But I also think he was in a relationship where there was a power differential and he and Heckerling view the past in totally different ways. He probably felt the relationship was uncomfortable and a total mess and she viewed it through a very romantic lens. I said in another post about this that in 2007, she made a movie where a female show runner has a How Stella Got her Groove Back romance with a young actor on her TV show-at the time, it was probably viewed at vaguely empowering. Now, it would be maybe a little creepy. In that movie, the young actor relentlessly pursues *her*. So that says all there is to say about how she views herself and her relationships. Maybe she is embarrassed to think about things from another perspective after having these type of relationships over and over.

    • S says:

      This sounds accurate to me. I said above this is the “correct” response from Amy, and what I meant by that (and why I put correct in quotes) is because it’s the right way to shut down interest in a probably already low-interest book. (Kattan is hardly A-list.) I didn’t, and don’t, mean “correct” as in the right way to talk about or treat someone who has leveled an allegation of sexual abuse.

      I would tend to believe that they see the relationship very differently. Neither of them seems extremely stable, by all reports, and it’s certainly well within plausibility that if Lorne Michaels said such a thing to Kattan, Heckerling never knew about it and just thought they were having a romantic fling. Doesn’t make the relationship right or good, but while there was something of a power imbalance, they were both well into adulthood, and both had moderate amounts of fame.

      This wasn’t a 19-year-old in their first film seduced by a 50-year-old director to get the part. I’m not saying there aren’t levels of grossness, but it wasn’t like Kattan wasn’t going to be in Roxbury—his own character and project—if he didn’t sleep with Heckerling, and she didn’t end up directing the film, and their relationship, however it began, seemed to outlast that, so I’m confused, other than the supposed instruction from Michaels, how this is a “casting couch” situation. The power imbalance just doesn’t seem to be significant enough, to me, to warrant that label.

      • Sassbr says:

        It’s on the very far end of a sliding scale. Look at Aziz Ansari. I think the guy is at most guilty of objectification and not sexual misconduct. But his accuser says it was sexual misconduct and one reason (among others) was because of the power differential. Idk, is going out on one date with Aziz Ansari a power differential?

      • S says:

        But wasn’t the power differential issue with Ansari, not that he was famous, but that he was a man? I, too, think that story is a very, very gray area, but the storyteller said she told him, ‘No’ and ‘Stop,’ various times, and Ansari didn’t accept her rejection—though he did stop temporarily—because she didn’t leave his apartment immediately (and, yeah, she probably didn’t leave, because of his fame). That outmoded idea that no doesn’t mean, no, it just means “convince me.” That’s very different from the story Kattan is telling about himself and Heckerling.

        I guess the two stories are similar in that they’re symptoms of larger cultural issues; men learning it’s OK, even encouraged, to push for yes when they get a no, plus the pornification of sexual contact and male expectations.

        And the issue of older people with more money, experience and status “romancing” significantly younger folks, including those in their employ, which is actually more gross than romantic, but is still generally accepted, if also side-eyed. (e.g. A 60-year-old financier marrying his 25-year-old former secretary) Raise your hand if you think Melania marries a NON-rich guy 24 years her senior. I know plenty of people are skeeved out by it, but is Katherine McPhee’s marriage being labeled as abusive because of their (much wider) age, wealth and power differential?

        There’s a difference between sexual abuse and just general patriarchal society B.S. and the misogyny baked into our culture that needs to change.

      • Sassbr says:

        I’ve read the Babe story several times and it wasn’t that he didn’t stop. They went out on a date, they got naked and did everything but, then she wanted to stop, and they hung out on the couch and he kept steering her back toward sex. Then she asked for an uber and he was like yeah sure, and she left. He was pestering her for sex because he was treating her as a sex object. He was basically being a typical dude asshole-he wanted to hit it and quit it and he assumed “ok well you’re not leaving my apartment and we keep making out, so are we going to have sex or not?” I think the miscommunication here was that to him, she was just there for sex. But it wasn’t rape and it wasn’t sexual misconduct. But the writer of that article specifically cites Aziz’s celebrity. If the power differential is that Aziz was a man-then there is always a power differential between men and women. And that’s like this grey area. Men are taught it’s okay to just use women for sex and see them as objects and women are taught to feel like they can’t just leave when they want.

  6. LadyLaw says:

    The more she and her daughter respond the more I believe Chris Kattan. Which is saying something because I can’t stand him.

    They all agree that there was a sexual relationship. And it is clear there was a power differential. Her and her daughter seem to be quibbling as to whether Lorne actually pressured him into sleeping with her….which it is unclear to me that they would know even if Lorne had.

  7. Stacy J Henry says:

    I respect her 100% more for NOT contributing to the mess. And I don’t care if the story writer would like more clarity about what happened. It isn’t the story writer’s LIFE and people have a right to keep things private. We as the public are not entitled to know EVERYTHING about people in the public eye. That is so intrusive. I also think the interviewer was in the wrong for asking her twice. She said she didn’t want to talk about that …she didn’t stutter and she shouldn’t have to repeat herself. So disrespectful to her.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Would you be okay with, say, Kevin Spacey saying he didn’t want to talk about it? Chris has a right to make his experience public. We insist men who’ve committed assault be brought out in the open. So, too, should women.

  8. DS9 says:

    I believed him the first time but now I don’t have any doubts.

    All she had to say was, “I can’t speak for what Lorne may have said but Chris and I were in a mutual and consensual relationship for x years, I’m sorry he feels the way he does in hindsight and I have no further comment.”

    Instead, she parroted outrage from the abuser’s playbook.


    • Lucy2 says:

      Exactly. I think she made it worse here, and made me believe him even more.

      Also, her daughter was a child at the time, and probably not super aware of the dynamics of their relationship. But I understand wanting to defend her mom.

  9. DS9 says:

    Also, notice how she says no comment but still manages to talk trash. It’s a Trumpian denial.

  10. babco says:

    She did right.
    This guy has been twisting facts in his book to make a messy relationship pass as a #metoo.

    There s a project going on involving the 3, probably some unprofessional flirting and back and forth.
    LM probably not very happy to deal with the sexual tension between the other 2 makes a crass, offhand remark in a bro conversation

    – the project never happened
    – that remark never translated into anything else
    – how could AH have known/instigated what LM ‘suggested’?
    – they did not start a relationship

    Then later on,
    – they actually dated
    – according to the daughter, he was the one using her mother for support and looking for her company,
    – he dumped her
    – she developed an ED after the breakup
    – she never undertook any retaliation of any sort against the dude

    Manipulation and fact twisting facts to get a juicier book.
    I believe #women.

    • S says:

      That’s what I don’t get it either. To be an abusive situation there has to be some pro quo for the quid. They never worked together. She never controlled his career. She really wasn’t in a position of power over him, other than age and, perhaps, some level of accumulated wealth because of it. (Though, from what I understand, she was never that well situated financially.)

      When they met he was already basically at the height of his own fame, and she was several year post-Clueless without another movie to her name.

      It just sounds like a bad, messy relationship, on both sides.

  11. KL says:

    I feel like I’m missing something whenever I read coverage of this ongoing story. I don’t get it: if Lorne Michaels was the one applying pressure (in explicit suggestions, and as Kattan’s actual boss, etc), why is Heckerling the one all these articles focus on? Is the implication that she couldn’t possibly have been ignorant of how Michaels put the issue forward? Is there some factor here I’m blind to which rules out the possibility that Heckerling thought it was a genuine relationship while Kattan thought of it more as a transaction? She was not the director when they slept together, just a producer — one of many attached to the project — and I don’t see how a producer could be seen as wielding so much power over a known star.

    I’m really not looking to excuse Heckerling because she’s a woman, I’m just genuinely confused. And a little angry that it’s not Lorne Michaels’ feet being held to this fire.

    • KL says:

      I don’t have the option to edit anymore, so just to add: I truly am hoping someone can explain it to me. I don’t care about defending Heckerling at all, I believe Kattan. I just don’t understand how the lede isn’t Michaels’ manipulation behind the scenes, especially when Kattan calls the sex with Heckerling consensual. Doesn’t that mean all the coercion came from Michaels and the other big power players who wanted the movie made a certain way?

      • DS9 says:

        Personally that’s how I’m taking it, how I took it from the first. Heckerling couldn’t know for certain what Lorne said to Chris Kattan and when she I’m not sure how she or her daughter who was a child at the time could deny it happened.

        I also didn’t take the story from Chris’s end as claiming Heckerling was a predator but that Lorne was a skeeve. I also didn’t see Kattan state the relationship wasn’t genuine, that the sex wasn’t consensual, only that Lorne was playing reindeer games.

        It’s only Heckerling’s attitude about all this that makes me certain she did grouse to Lorne about him turning her down initially.

        And I still think Amy’s daughter’s thoughts are wholly irrelevant.

      • Brandy Alexander says:

        I think he said in the initial story that he turned her down and then the next day Lorne Michaels called him and put the pressure on. I presumed she was the one that called Lorne to complain, otherwise how would he even know? I’ve never liked Chris Kattan or any of his charavters/movies, and even I believe him. His story makes sense and her denial, which isn’t even a denial, comes off as pretty gross to me.

      • DS9 says:

        She absolutely complained about it. The question is whether she asked or implied that he needed to do something about it or whether Lorne did this all on his own.

        It seems hard to believe he acted all on his own though

    • Harryg says:

      Lorne Michaels seems to be on some weird pedestal.

    • Mo says:

      Yeah, three people act skeevy, and the one who’s getting none of the shit stuck to them is the one who is still a powerful person in the industry. Following the conventions of Reddit’s AITA? (Am I The Asshole?) board, I’m going with ETTA: Everyone’s the Asshole. The problem appears to be that no one had all of the knowledge of what was happening. It may very well have been Amy bitching about Chris in front of her assistant, with that assistant then gossiping with Lorne’s, who then tells Lorne, who goes to Chris.

      One other thing. There will always be people with power differentials having sex with each other and there will always be bad sex/sex with assholish behaviors involved. We are undergoing a much needed upheaval in behavioral expectations right now.