Brett Ratner Resigns as Producer of the Oscars; Pens Open Letter Apologizing to Hollywood

     November 8, 2011

Physically unable to remove his foot from his mouth, Brett Ratner is having a very bad week. The Tower Heist director came under scrutiny for crudely bragging that he “banged” Olivia Munn a few times but didn’t remember who she was, when responding to a passage in Munn’s recent book that described a highly unflattering encounter she once had with the director. He then apologized for his claim, saying that he actually lied about having relations with Munn (excusing himself by exclaiming “She’s hot!”). Then, he came under intense fire for responding to a Q&A question about his directorial style by saying “Rehearsal is for fags.”

So it’s no surprise that Ratner has now stepped down as producer of the upcoming Oscar telecast. There’s no word on what this means for Eddie Murphy’s involvement as host, but I’m hoping he stays onboard. As for Ratner, he was a strange choice to begin with and the ignorance and overall asshole-ness of his comments have actually made him an even less appealing human being. Tom Sherak, president of AMPAS said in a statement: “Words have meaning, and they have consequences.” Hit the jump to read an open letter of apology to Hollywood from Ratner himself.

brett-ratner-image-2Here’s the 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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