At this point I have to imagine that Brett Ratner's publicity staff must be kind of upset with him. With Tower Heist opening this past weekend, the director has been making the press rounds and has been doing a pretty amazing job pissing off just about everyone. From his line about rehearsal being for "fags" to the detailing of his sex life on the Howard Stern show, Ratner has used every opportunity to make himself look incredibly unlikeable. Now it looks like it's biting him in the ass.
According to unnamed sources over at THR, Brett Ratner has been ousted as the producer of next year's Academy Awards. It's unknown if this means that Eddie Murphy, who signed on to host the awards ceremony in September, will continue to be a part of the show. Earlier today The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the folks behind the show, issued a statement saying that they believed Ratner's apology for the rehearsal remark was sincere and that it reflected "who he really is at heart." When asked for comment the Academy did not respond, but it's expected that they will be issuing a new statement later today.
One has to wonder what motivated the quick change of heart. From the sound of the statement this morning the Academy was ready to go to bat for Ratner, but now they are totally abandoning him. Perhaps they noticed that this isn't exactly the first time that Ratner has portrayed himself in a negative light and don't have the desire to keep cleaning up for him. Maybe the director has made yet another stupid remark that we've yet to hear about. All in all, this probably is the right move. We'll be sure to update this story as more develops.
UPDATE: Well that didn't take long. The Academy has posted a statement about the Brett Ratner business, and there's a bit of a twist: apparently Ratner is the one who wanted out. That, of course, is assuming that this isn't a situation where the Academy asked Ratner to turn in his resignation. Here is the full release:
Academy Statement Regarding Brett Ratner
Beverly Hills, CA (November 8, 2011) Ė This morning, Brett Ratner submitted his resignation as a producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards to Academy President Tom Sherak. Ratner then issued an open letter to the entertainment industry in which he explained his decision.
"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Sherak said. "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."
UPDATE #2: THR has published Ratner's open letter mentioned in the Academy statement above. Read it below:
Over the last few days, Iíve 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 Iíve hurt and offended, Iíd 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 doesnít 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 Iíve 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.