Insensitive remarks prompt the producer to withdraw – after he apologizes

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 09, 2011 08:45 AM
Terrence Jennings/Retna; Gregory Pace/BEImages

Brett Ratner tendered his resignation to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Tuesday after apologizing for using an offensive term to describe homosexuals.

The filmmaker was going to co-produce next year’s 84th annual Oscarcast – and his resignation could conceivably throw into question whether Eddie Murphy will still host the event. Murphy had been recruited for the job by Ratner, who directed him in the movie Tower Heist.

“He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself,” Academy President Tom Sherak said in a statement, regarding Ratner’s resignation. “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.”

Ratner, 42, used the anti-gay slur during a question-and-answer session at Hollywood’s Arclight cinema on Friday, and again on Howard Stern’s program.

In his apology, Ratner said that it was “a dumb way of expressing myself”.

Don Mischer, who was to co-produce with Ratner, will likely remain to oversee the Oscars, it is being reported.

Ratner, meanwhile, continues to come under fire for his remarks, as is the Academy for not immediately firing him.

The Los Angeles Times film columnist Patrick Goldstein wrote, among other comments, Tuesday night: “It’s hardly a news flash that Ratner is a crass hustler who’s spent his entire career in a Sammy Glick-like rush to get ahead, often behaving with all of the grace and elan of a character out of Entourage.”