Will Ratner flap hurt his Hollywood career?
Ratner submitted his resignation from the Oscar gig Tuesday to Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, after making an anti-gay slur at a weekend screening of his movie "Tower Heist," and confiding disturbing details about his sex life on Monday's "The Howard Stern Show."
In a statement Tuesday, Ratner apologized, calling his remarks "ugly and bigoted' and adding, "I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience."
Notwithstanding his contrition, Ratner's comments could damage his career. One of Hollywood's top filmmakers, having directed blockbusters like "Rush Hour" and "X-Men: The Last Stand," Ratner was recently tapped to direct the upcoming DreamWorks SKG's film "The 39 Clues," a live-action adaptation of the successful young adult Scholastic Media book series.
Jeff Nathanson, who had worked with Ratner on the "Rush Hour" movies, wrote the screenplays for the DreamWorks film, which is still in development, and for Ratner's "Tower Heist," the action comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller that had a soft opening last weekend. Nathanson was also one of the writers working with Ratner on the Oscar telecast.
A spokesman for DreamWorks declined to say whether the flap over Ratner's anti-gay slur would affect his job as director of "The 39 Clues" but added: "We are impressed with the sincerity of his apology and his willingness to give up something so important in order to underscore the weight of his apology."
It wouldn't be the first time a prominent Hollywood figure has paid the price for ill-advised comments. Mel Gibson's career took a hit after he made racially charged remarks about Jews in 2006 and for abusive comments directed to his girlfriend in 2010. More recently, Tracy Morgan, co-star of the NBC series "30 Rock," took a public drubbing after making anti-gay jokes at a June comedy show.
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-- Richard Verrier
Photo: Director Brett Ratner at a recent premiere in Hollywood. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters.