Brett Ratner Steps Down as Producer of the Oscars
11.09.11 by Ryan
Director Brett Ratner was an unusual choice to produce next year's Academy Award telecast. In choosing Ratner, the Academy seemed to indicate that they were looking to rebound after this year's ceremony, hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, which wasn't as warmly received as hoped. However, after a series of public gaffes, Ratner has decided to step down from the Oscars, in what may be the first step in rebuilding his image.
It began earlier this month with an appearance on G4TV's Attack of the Show, where Ratner was trying promote his latest movie, Tower Heist. Once there, Ratner discussed how he had "banged" former co-host and actress Olivia Munn, something he later admitted he lied about. Then, after a screening of Tower Heist in Los Angeles, Ratner used a homophobic slur while discussing his feelings about rehearsing for a movie, which, again, led to an apology. "I apologize for any offense my remarks caused," said Ratner in a statement. "It was a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself."
The latest apology comes in Ratner's letter to the entertainment industry, which discusses his exit as a producer of the Oscars.
Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.
So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.
As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.
I am grateful to GLAAD for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.
Sincerely, Brett Ratner
With Ratner out, the question that remains is whether Eddie Murphy will still host the Oscars, since it was Ratner that hired Murphy in the first place. According to Deadline, Ratner's decision will mean that a new producer will be hired, but that Murphy will still host the show.