Brett Ratner has resigned his post as producer of the 2012 Oscar telecast in the wake of an escalating scandal involving his use of a gay slur.
“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,” he said in an open letter to the Hollywood community. “To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
“Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career,” he continued. “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 did the right thing for the Academy and for himself,” Academy president Tom Sherak said in a 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.”
The scandal erupted over the weekend when Ratner said “Rehearsal is for fags” in response to a reporter’s question about whether he rehearses with his actors. The remark drew widespread criticism as well as an apology from Ratner. “I apologize for any offense my remarks caused,” Ratner said at the time. “It was a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself.”
His decision to step down is all the more surprising considering the fact that just yesterday Sherak — in an interview with our sister site Deadline.com — said Ratner would not lose his job over the controversy. “His remarks were inappropriate,” Sherak said. “He said it best in his apology, that his comments were dumb and insensitive. When you think of our community, it went against all the beliefs of the creative community we represent. He knew it was wrong and he issued that response as quickly as any human being ever has. The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again.”
Now for the $1 million question: Will Eddie Murphy — who was hand-picked by Ratner to serve as host — resign as well? Stay tuned…