Brett Ratner Out as Oscar Show Producer (Exclusive)
UPDATED: In recent days, the "Tower Heist" director said that "rehearsal is for fags" and discussed his sex life on Howard Stern's radio show.
Director Brett Ratner is out as Oscar producer, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. The Academy and Ratner have just released statements confirming his exit.
Ratner released a statement soon after THR reported his exit.
"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," he stated. (Read full statement below.)
The Academy released a statement also confirming Ratner's exit.
"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Sherak said in the statement. "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."
Ratner had been named as the producer of the 2012 Academy Awards show, but he has been under fire for making a series of ill-judged remarks in recent days, including saying "rehearsal is for fags" and discussing his sex life with Howard Stern. Ratner went on Stern's radio show Monday amid the growing controversy over his first remark made at Hollywood's ArcLight theater Friday night.
It is not yet known whether Eddie Murphy, who stars in Ratner's film Tower Heist and was recruited by Ratner to serve as the host of the Oscar show, will remain involved with the production.
GLAAD, which was quick to condemn Ratner's "fags" remarks, also issued a press release Tuesday about his Oscar departure, saying that reps had met with Ratner about holding public discussions with industry leaders about "promoting fair and accurate inclusions of LGBT people and stories." The first event is planned for the coming weeks, with additional discussions over the next three years (more details will be released at a later date).
“When we sat down with Brett today, he seemed very sincere in his desire to use this experience as a way to begin speaking out against anti-gay language in popular culture,” said Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD. “We believe his resignation is just the first step and will be announcing a series of concrete actions with Brett in coming days and weeks.”
Added acting president Mike Thompson: “Hollywood has the power and responsibility to grow acceptance of all communities. We look forward to working with Brett and the industry in promoting positive, culture-changing images of our community and sending a message that such slurs, used to belittle gay and lesbian youth and adults every day, have no place in mainstream popular culture or the industry that creates it.”
Read Ratner's full statement below:
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