Last Friday night, D.C. Douglas, an actor and voice-over specialist, took his girlfriend to a special screening of Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist at the Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas. Little did Douglas know that Ratner’s post-show question-and-answer session after the movie—and Douglas’ reaction to it on Twitter—would put him at the center of a controversy that has funamentally changed the 2012 Academy Awards.
The Hollywood Reporter tracked down Douglas, whose tweet noting that Ratner had said “Rehearsing is for fags” during the Q&A prompted the maelstrom of news coverage that eventually led to Ratner (and then host Eddie Murphy) stepping down from the Oscar telecast.
Douglas tells THR that the second Ratner uttered the line in response to question about how he prepares a scene with actors, he and his girlfriend “exchanged a ‘Did he really just say that?’ look.”
Although Douglas believes Ratner intended the comment as a joke, there was nothing in the director’s intonation or body language—no sarcasm in his voice, no knowing wink—to indicate to the audience he was kidding. “He’s kind of a douche,” Douglas recalls thinking to himself.
Douglas was surprised there was no audience reaction to the comment during what was an otherwise “boring” interview, he says. “I kept waiting for someone to follow it up in the Q&A and when they didn’t I went home and tweeted it.”
Here’s what Douglas tweeted: “Just saw #TowerHeist followed by Q&A with Brett Ratner. Takeaway quote: “Rehearsing is for fags.” … Yeah, he’s an impressive fella. #wtf.”
NY Mag’s Vulture blog then ran an item based on Douglas’ tweet, which prompted a smattering of other websites to pick up the story. When Ratner issued an apology on Monday, the story became huge. Academy president Tom Sherak initially defended Ratner but warned that another embarassing comment would not be tolerated. Then Ratner’s interview with Howard Stern—in which he boasted of his sex life and “huge balls”—became public, and by mid-day Tuesday Ratner had informed the Academy that he was stepping down as producer of the Oscars. Murphy bailed as the host on Wednesday, with Brian Grazer named producer on Wednesday afternoon.
This isn’t the first time Douglas has been a player in a political controversy.
In April 2010, he left a message on the Tea Party-affiliated group Freedomworks’ voicemail criticizing the organization. An operative with the group publicized Douglas’ voice-over work, resulting in GEICO dropping him from a series of internet commercials. Douglas responded by posting a satirical Tea Party PSA on YouTube. The story was subsequently featured on The Joy Behar Show.
Douglas continues to produce satirical YouTube commercials through his Tweaked Nipple Productions.