Even though he made an attempt at an apology for using a homophobic slur over the weekend and his ungallant boasting about his sexual exploits on a radio show, director Brett Ratner has stepped down as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ratner released a statement to the Reporter saying, "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."
The Academy also released a statement to confirm Ratner's exit. "He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Tom Sherak, Academy president, said in the statement obtained by the Reporter. "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 Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has announced that officials from the organization and Ratner plan public discussions featuring leaders in the entertainment industry that will address anti-LGBT jokes and slurs in films and on television today as well as their trickle-down effect into popular culture. GLAAD says the first event will happen sometime within the next few weeks with additional discussions to take place over the next three years.
"When we sat down with Brett today, he seemed very sincere in his desire to use this experience as a way to begin speaking out against anti-gay language in popular culture," said Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD. "We believe his resignation is just the first step and will be announcing a series of concrete actions with Brett in coming days and weeks."
GLAAD acting president Mike Thompson sees the discussions as an opportunity to promote change. "Hollywood has the power and responsibility to grow acceptance of all communities," Thompson says. "We look forward to working with Brett and the industry in promoting positive, culture-changing images of our community and sending a message that such slurs, used to belittle gay and lesbian youth and adults every day, have no place in mainstream popular culture or the industry that creates it."
The Advocate previously reported: An unnamed source tells the Reporter that a decision has been made and the Academy will make an announcement shortly. It's not yet known if Eddie Murphy, hired by Ratner to host the awards, will remain with the production. Ratner had also hired a new group of writers, which didn't include veteran head writer Bruce Vilanch.
During a Q&A session prior to a screening of his film Tower Heist in Los Angeles last Friday, Ratner said "rehearsal's for fags." The remark prompted immediate and widespread criticism, and many in the entertainment industry question Ratner's suitability as a producer of its biggest event. Ratner hastily composed an apology of sorts. "I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb way of expressing myself," Ratner said in a statement released Monday. "Everyone who knows me knows that I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words."