A lot has happened to Brett Ratner this week. Amidst his latest film arriving in theaters, the director has been on a whirlwind promotional tour, touching down for live Q&As, TV show appearances, and even a stop on Howard Stern's show to talk about all the girls he's had sex with. The problem with this particular tour is that ever since Ratner was hired to produce this year's Oscar ceremony, thereby representing all of Hollywood on its biggest night of self-congratulating, it immediately put Ratner in a spotlight his mouth wasn't comfortable being in. Earlier this week -- after telling some nasty, absurd story about sleeping with Olivia Munn, and then later admitting he made it up -- Ratner crossed yet another line when, during a Q&A, he claimed "rehearsals are for fags." Naturally, the internet did not let him get away with it.
And considering the fact that folks love a good, meaty controversy, it was only a matter of time before Ratner was forced out of the producer's position. Yesterday the Academy issued a statement standing behind Ratner, dishing out the old "if it happens one more time ..." as if he gave some kid a wedgie in the schoolyard. But critics would not let it go, and after it was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, it has since become official: Ratner has decided to step down as show producer (read his statement below).
No word yet on whether Ratner's buddy Eddie Murphy will now vacate the hosting gig, but regardless this is not a healthy situation for the Academy and they'll surely be thinking twice about who they have replace the big mouth. Might we suggest not reaching out to Ricky Gervais for starters ...
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