What you probably remember about 1998’s A Night at the Roxbury is that the cult classic starring then-Saturday Night Live stars Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell is hilarious. However, dark and decidedly un-funny allegations are now coming to light about the making of the movie. In his new memoir, Kattan accuses SNL producer Lorne Michaels of pressuring him to have sex with a director to ensure the movie got made — a claim that both SNL and Michaels are insisting is categorically untrue.
Kattan’s Baby Don’t Hurt Me memoir details the supposed inappropriate coercion, in a section of the book shared on Twitter by journalist Seth Simons. The passage outlines how Clueless director Amy Heckerling, who was slated to direct A Night at the Roxbury, allegedly came onto Kattan the year the movie was to be made. He was 27 at the time, she was 43 and he claims to have rejected her advances. Shortly after, Kattan allegedly got a phone call from Michaels, who was “furious” because Heckerling was now threatening to back out of the project. “’Chris, I’m not saying you have to f**k her, but it wouldn’t hurt,’” Kattan recalls Michaels telling him.
Since Michaels insisted the movie wouldn’t be made without Heckerling as director, Kattan claims he did cave and have sex with Heckerling… albeit not on Michaels’ desk, like Heckerling reportedly requested. “I said a polite ‘F**k, no!’ to that,” Kattan wrote in his memoir, then revealing, “So we ended up going to her office and having sex on… yep, you guessed it, the ‘casting couch.’”
here is an interesting bit in Chris Kattan’s memoir. he describes Amy Heckerling propositioning him during pre-production for A Night at the Roxbury; he doesn’t say yes, and the next day Lorne pressures him to sleep with her lest she tank the movie pic.twitter.com/t2sGLZtSew
— Seth Simons (@sasimons) May 26, 2019
In response to the claims laid out in Kattan’s memoir, a spokesperson for SNL has gone on record to say, “This did not happen.” Per Page Six, reps for the show also indicated that the publisher of Kattan’s memoir never reached out to anyone in their camp to verify claims made in the book.
However, that’s not to say that Kattan’s claims aren’t factual (or that they are, for that matter). At this point, they are unsubstantiated but merit further scrutiny and attention. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, claims like Kattan’s made by a woman would likely be given the benefit of the doubt. If not believed, the woman would at the very least not immediately be shut down. That same respect and courtesy must be extended to men who claim to also be victims of sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
Actor Terry Crews was among the first of the few men who’ve come forward in the #MeToo era to share his story. In 2017, he opened up about an incident that had taken place at a Hollywood party a year prior. At that time, WME agent Adam Venit groped Crews’ genitals and made lewd gestures at Crews with his mouth. Before coming forward publicly, Crews had already filed a police report over the alleged assault. (Venit was eventually forcibly “retired” and issued an apology letter to Crews).
In 2018, actor Brendan Fraser revealed to GQ that former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk assaulted him at a 2003 luncheon. “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around,” Fraser said of the incident, which left him emotionally distraught. Inexplicably, the HFPA ultimately concluded Berk’s behavior “was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.”
Sexual harassment and assault are not gender-specific; equal weight should be given to allegations tendered by both men and women. Unless Kattan’s claims are proven false or otherwise contradicted, it’s important not to shut down the conversation as more information comes to light.