After the Walker Cup golf tournament at the Los Angeles Country Club in September, I walked down Wilshire Boulevard and stopped off in the Beverly Hilton hotel. There were a couple of hundred elegantly dressed black people lined up to get into a ballroom to attend a gala in honor of rap mogul Russell Simmons on the 25th anniversary of his Def Comedy Jam series.
Here’s a new article from the Los Angeles Times that helps explain why the old fogeys at the Los Angeles Country Club don’t let in showbiz folks like Simmons and Ratner:
Russell Simmons and Brett Ratner face new allegations of sexual misconduct
By AMY KAUFMAN, DANIEL MILLER AND VICTORIA KIM
NOV. 19, 2017
… In several of the accounts, the women said that [moviemaker Brett "Rush Hour"] Ratner, 48, surrounded himself with powerful friends, including [rap mogul Russell] Simmons and filmmaker James Toback, who, while sharing Ratner’s playboy lifestyle, have also been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct. Those friendships, some women said, enabled inappropriate behavior within the group, sometimes by active participation and in other cases by simply providing venues for incidents to take place.
These men and other older, controversial Hollywood friends — including producer Robert Evans and filmmaker Roman Polanski — have served as father figures to Ratner, who had a distant relationship with his late dad. Evans, the former Paramount Pictures production chief who was convicted of trafficking cocaine, explained his relationship with Ratner in a 2007 Vanity Fair story: “I was his Hollywood father. I don’t know whether I should be proud of that or not.”
Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam, has often described how Ratner first curried favor by furnishing him with models after they met in 1987. Then an undergraduate studying film at New York University, Ratner seemed to know where the models lived in Manhattan, Simmons has said.
“He was willing to do anything to be of use,” Simmons wrote in his book “Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success,” published in 2007. “After he hung around a bit and figured out that I liked models, then he made it his business to take me to every model’s apartment he could find.”
Ratner, who has said his father abused drugs and became homeless, found in Simmons a willing surrogate. “He’s my son, all right,” Simmons told Vanity Fair.
I wasn’t actually aware that a son should serve as his father’s pimp, but you learn something new every day.
I’m probably the only person who will admit to finding Ratner’s “Rush Hour” movies funny. I bet Brett Ratner originally intended to name his Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker “Rush Hour” trilogy about two buddy cops, neither of whom speak English
“Traffic Jam” in honor of his father-john Russell Simmons’ “Def Comedy Jam.”
Chris Tucker reminds me that African-Americans, at least in Los Angeles, really don’t like the Spanish language.
Also, commenter Dave Pinsen observes:
OT, but related to Steve’s previous post about golf clubs:
On Sunday night’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s Hispanic handyman asks Larry if he can take his family to Larry’s golf club to use the pool over the weekend. Dialogue along these lines ensues:
Larry David: “No, you can’t go there. They’re racist.”
Cesar the handyman: “You belong to a racist club?”
Larry David: “All clubs are racist.”
In real life, Larry is a member at Riviera in Pacific Palisades, which is less ethnic than most other L.A. clubs. O.J. was a member, although they emptied his locker out upon acquittal; Johnny Mathis is a member.
I’ve been raving about LACC lately, but Riviera, where the pros play ever winter, is a phenomenal design. Having been acquired in the late 1920s, it’s a more awkward piece of land than LACC, but it’s a phenomenal design by George Thomas, the final architect at LACC. Riviera, like Charles Blair MacDonald’s earlier National Golf Links of America, is a rare classic golf course that’s a little bit … funny in that odd terrain features, like the giant mound on Riviera’s fifth hole are emphasized rather than smoothed out. When Thomas didn’t have any weird land to work with, like on the sixth, he violated all the rules of golf design by putting a sand trap in the middle of the sixth green. The PGA Tour golfers are not a light-hearted bunch normally, but even they crack up trying to figure out how to deal with the damn bunker in the middle of the sixth green.