Gal Gadot's ouster of Brett Ratner from Wonder Woman 2 makes her the hero we need, and deserve
Although Warner Bros. has already announced that it wouldn’t renew their association with Brett Ratner or his company, RatPac Dune Entertainment, after 2018 when it expires, the disgraced producer-director could have carried on being a co-producer on the sequel of Wonder Woman, a franchise he helped create. Warner Bros. terminated their association with Ratner after the multiple sexual misconduct and harassment allegations against him became public. As a producer, Ratner could have continued being a part of Wonder Woman and with the first one making $800 million at the box office, he was bound to make a killing on the sequel that already been confirmed for a summer 2019 release. But the film’s lead Gal Gadot’s very firm and very public stand against Ratner where she reportedly refused to return for Wonder Woman 2 if he continued to be involved in any capacity, has ensured Ratner won’t be associated with the film any more.
While the Harvey Weinstein expose turned into a real force in the form of social media campaigns such as #MeToo that helped amplify the stories of women who were sexually or professionally harassed, Gal Gadot’s stance is about much more than a high-powered man losing face or work. In a matter of days since the news of Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct became public, the former movie mogul was fired from his own company. In a way, both Kevin Spacey and Louis CK, too, faced similar consequences but the back-door entry to carry on with business as usual, was always an option. Take for instance, the manner in which Netflix dealt with Spacey following actor Anthony Rapp’s allegations that the two-time Oscar winner assaulted him when he was 14. They fired Spacey from House of Cards only to realise the absence of a ‘morality clause’ ensured that the actor’s personal actions can’t be reason enough to get rid of him. The only way Spacey can now be ‘fired’ is if Netflix pays him out — but that would mean other complications such as the impact this could have on the contracts, etc. with other cast and crew.
In the light of what transpired between Netflix and Spacey, Gal Gadot’s stance marks a visible change in the power dynamics in Hollywood. Her willingness to put her own interest on the line to ensure that either the studio or Hollywood’s power brokers do not get away with a ‘business as usual’ shrug is the stuff that future industry folklore would be made of. In a podcast, Elizabeth “Liz” Tippett, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, said that this is perhaps the moment that will force employers to think whether they want to keep a ‘documented harasser’ on the payroll. Gadot, in fact, went a step further and put it out there simply — she didn’t want a series celebrating women’s empowerment to benefit a man accused of harassing women — and the manner in which her action has hit a powerful man such as Ratner right where it hurts the most — the wallet — is what makes this more potent.
In some way, Mel Gibson's comeback after being ostracised from mainstream Hollywood for his anti-Semitic views is what Hollywood’s disgraced powers-that-were might take solace in. Just a few weeks after Dustin Hoffman was accused by writer Anna Graham of allegedly groping her on the sets of TV movie Death of a Salesman, the now 80-year-old actor received rapturous applause at an awards function. Hoffman had issued a statement after Graham’s allegations that he apologised for anything that he might have done that could have put her in an uncomfortable situation but the manner in which the entire thing was seemingly glossed over by the audience suggested that comebacks from any kind of deviant behaviour are only a matter of time in Hollywood.
Could it really be a matter of time before everything’s forgotten? The manner in which Bryan Cranston shared his views that ‘we should be open to forgiving Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey’ is but a testimony to that. This is why Gal Gadot’s insistence on Ratner not being a part of Wonder Woman 2 is what Hollywood ought to be afraid of.
Even after six women, including actors Olivia Munn and Ellen Page, accused Ratner of “sexual misconduct” and “homophobic and abusive behaviour” respectively, his lawyers issued a statement that they were ‘‘confident that his name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims.’’ Louis CK’s statement too, was nothing more than an elegant way of saying ‘Sorry, I got caught.’ It is said that one becomes a hero by displaying heroic behaviour and not by one's ability to win or lose. That Gal Gadot is ‘Wonder Woman’ is well known, but her being a true hero is about more than donning a costume. It’s the way that she stood up for her principles and did not give in that makes her a real hero and an inspiration for many.