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Brett Ratner resigns as Oscar telecast producer [UPDATED]

by Danielle Berrin

November 8, 2011 | 4:17 pm

Director Brett Ratner smiles in this picture taken on Nov. 3. Photo by REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Brett Ratner, the Blockbuster-director with the big mouth, resigned his role as this year’s Oscar telecast producer yesterday after a PR debacle.

Then this morning, Eddie Murphy, the star of Ratner’s latest film “Tower Heist” resigned his role as host of the 84th annual Academy Awards.

The fallout came 48-hours after the blogosphere erupted in ire over Ratner’s bad boy behavior: First, uttering a gay slur during a Q-and-A session about his film “Tower Heist” and then jabbering about his sex life on The Howard Stern Show.

Official statement from the Academy:

This morning, Brett Ratner submitted his resignation as a producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards to Academy President Tom Sherak. Ratner then issued an open letter to the entertainment industry in which he explained his decision.

“He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself,” Sherak said. “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.”

This decision presumably came from outside pressure that Ratner’s immature antics would damage the Oscar brand. Probably true. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have put on a good show—I mean, he kept us all entertained these last 24 hours, didn’t he?

Read Ratner’s full statement of resignation to the Academy:

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.

Sincerely, Brett Ratner

That was sweet. What he said to Howard Stern was not.

Anyway, Ratner has his work cut out for him between now and next Yom Kippur.

 

Read all about the absurdities leading up to Ratner’s resignation at Hollywood Jew.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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