Brett Ratner resigns as Oscar producer after gay slur
"He did the right thing for the academy and for himself," Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak said Tuesday afternoon. "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."
In a Q&A session last weekend after a screening of his new film, “Tower Heist,” Ratner said, “rehearsal is for fags." He then went on Howard Stern's Sirius XM show and talked about masturbation, cunnilingus, pubic hair, the size of his testicles, his sexual encounter with Lindsay Lohan.
Ratner apologized Monday and Sherak seemed to accept his apology, but the drumbeat of criticism continued Tuesday, culminating in Ratner's resignation. It was not immediately clear whether Ratner's handpicked host, Eddie Murphy, would also leave the show, scheduled for late February. Ratner and Murphy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ratner's resignation letter read:
An Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry from Brett Ratner
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.
-- Nicole Sperling and John Horn
Photo credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times