Wonder Woman may not have been at a Jewish National Fund dinner in Los Angeles on Sunday night but the next best thing did show up: the director of the smash hit film.
After Gal Gadot pulled out of the JNF dinner amid a swirl of intrigue, Patty Jenkins, director of the Wonder Woman movie, presented producer and director Brett Ratner with the Tree of Life award for his support of the organization.
Jenkins told stories of working with him in the '90s when they were both starting out, and said that Ratner helped fund her first feature film. "He wants greatness for all, I've seen him help so many people," Jenkins said at the awards dinner. "He always opens his heart, truly believes in other people."
The event was closed to press, but a video of Jenkins' speech was leaked to Deadline, which published it.
There was higher than usual interest in the JNF dinner, after Gadot's exit sparked rumors. Variety
first reported on Friday that Gadot had canceled, and linked the move to potential allegations of sexual harassment by Ratner. Nobody would confirm any link, and while many rumors have surfaced, no women have come forward on the record in the past month to accuse Ratner of misbehavior.
A spokeswoman for JNF told Variety that Gadot pulled out due to a scheduling conflict. Neither JNF nor its Israeli sister company KKL would confirm any details, nor would Gadot's representatives.
Ratner was awarded the annual Tree of Life award by JNF, which "is given in recognition of outstanding community involvement, dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship, and devotion to the peace and security of human life."
Ratner, an alumni of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel semester abroad, gave a large donation to JNF to sponsor the ongoing program.
Ratner has directed films like Rush Hour
(and its sequels), The Family Man
, X-Men: The Last Stand
and produced those including Horrible Bosses
, Jersey Boys
and The Revenant
Ratner is a supporter of many Jewish causes, and also serves on the board of trustees of The Simon Wiesenthal Center.