Brett Ratner Steps Down as Producer of Oscar Telecast

When we ran a review of Brett Ratner‘s Tower Heist at the end of last week, a section of the comments that followed were dominated by discussion of Ratner’s perceived character, and the fact that many /Film staffers aren’t exactly fond of the guy. Some readers even expressed sympathy for the fact that Ratner gets so little love. This sort of conversation seems to crop up every time Ratner is in the news, whether he is making headlines for a film project, or for something more personal.

Lately the headlines have been very personal, and they point to stories that illustrate with pristine clarity why Ratner gets little love. Over the past week Ratner’s public comments have included some pathetic douchebag bravado — which Ratner later recanted and even admitted was false — as well as a statement that could be his epitaph: “rehearsing is for fags.”

That statement called into question Ratner’s suitability as producer of the Oscars, as that job makes him a de facto ambassador from Hollywood to the rest of the world. Some called for Ratner to be replaced as Oscar telecast producer, despite his apology for the rehearsal comment.. (Andrew O’Heir published an impassioned piece at Salon just hours ago calling for Ratner’s dismissal.)

Now Ratner is stepping down as Oscar producer — or being allowed to say that he is stepping down. Whether Eddie Murphy, his high profile choice to host, will remain on board, is not yet clear.

THR first broke the story, citing sources close to the Academy saying that Ratner is out. Further info came to light saying that Ratner is voluntarily resigning as Oscar host. His open letter explaining that decision is below.

This won’t be the end of Ratner’s career, and maybe it will even help the guy be less of a jackass. Nothing that Ratner said in the last week changes my feelings about his directorial career. He makes broad, silly, disposable entertainment. Some of that entertainment is appealing, and some isn’t. But as a personality he is proving himself to be worthy of little but dismissal. And so he’s gone from the Oscars.

Here’s Ratner’s letter:

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

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