Brett Ratner: 'No Gay Jokes' at Venice Benefit

The director skewers himself with a nod to his 2012 Oscar-telecast resignation as he honors friend and "Rush Hour" sequel screenwriter Jeff Nathanson.
Jeff Nathanson, left, and Brett Ratner
Getty Images

This story first appeared in the March 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Just two days after this year's Oscars, Brett Ratner publicly referenced his resignation from producing the 2012 telecast at the 34th annual Silver Circle Benefit for the Venice Family Clinic. The producer-director was there to present one of his best friends, Rush Hour 2 and 3 screenwriter Jeff Nathanson, with the group's Humanitarian Award. 

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Acknowledging that many might still consider him a loose-cannon pick to talk before an industry crowd (this one included Chris Silbermann, David Shore and Barry Meyer), Ratner said facetiously that Nathanson had sent him an email with strict guidelines on what not to say: "No black jokes, no gay jokes, no jokes about Steven Spielberg, no jokes about my agents, no jokes about my wife or children, no jokes about Asians or Jews. And whatever you do, do not repeat the joke I wrote for you that got you fired from the Oscars. It was totally inappropriate then, and it is totally inappropriate now."

Not all in the crowd were sure he was joking -- Nathanson assuredly did not write the off- the-cuff remark that cost Ratner om the gig -- but clearly the director is far enough away from the controversy to have a bit of fun at his own expense.