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Film director Brett Ratner resigns as a producer of Academy Awards telecast following gay slur

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

LOS ANGELES — Film director Brett Ratner on Tuesday resigned as one of the producers of the annual Academy Awards telecast after igniting a firestorm of criticism for using a gay slur, in which he said “rehearsal is for fags.”

Brett Ratner

The slur came in during a question and answer period following the screening last weekend of his new film, “Tower Heist.” He later appeared on the Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM and discussed masturbation, cunnilingus, pubic hair, the size of his testicles, and his sexual encounter with Lindsay Lohan.

The drumbeat of criticism continued Tuesday, culminating in Ratner’s resignation, reported the Los Angeles Times.

It was not immediately clear whether Ratner’s handpicked host, Eddie Murphy, would also leave the Academy Award broadcast, scheduled for late February.

The Academy’s president Tom Sherak told reporters Tuesday afternoon, “He did the right thing for the academy and for himself. Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent.”

In an open letter to the entertainment industry, Ratner wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

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.

Brett Ratner

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11 more reader comments:

  1. He should have resigned. I think the guy is okay, but he needs to work out his homophobia and join the 21st Century and be a positive member of Society.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 9:13am
  2. Glad to hear he’s doing the right thing.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 9:16am
  3. No he shouldn’t have, he should have been fired. Just like Imus was for his comment.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 9:36am
  4. At least he can be MAN enough to admit his wrong doing.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 9:37am
  5. where is his shame??? he quits to eliminate backlash…coward!!

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 9:49am
  6. Well, it’s unfortunate that Mr. Ratner has fallen into the categories of Ignorance, Bigotry, and or Hatred. I don’t know the man’s heart so I can’t pass a judgement—though, from what I’ve read about the incident I believe he should have apologized, which he did. But it comes down to stupidity. Knowing what has been going on with our Gay Teens in the last two years, it was completely stupid of him to make any LGBT related slure/comment. Society is changing towards tolerance and some people are a few steps behind the crowd.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 10:01am
  7. It’s not that big of a deal to me.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 11:46am
  8. Sorry, I’m usually the forgiving type but his letter is a pot of bullshit. Dripping bullshit. Good riddance and get the homophobe Eddie Murphy outta there, too

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 12:57pm
  9. It should be a big deal to everyone, when kids are killing themselves, and LGBT people are considered second class citizens!

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 4:32pm
  10. Nice letter, so professional. I wonder who wrote it.

    Goodbye Ratner, and take Murphy with you.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 5:07pm
  11. It’s odd that a director, who’s job is to know what every nuance of look, voice, inflection, costume, makeup, scenery, action, etc. produces in an audience, wouldn’t understand what the reactions by others to what he said would be.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 5:38pm