Director Brett Ratner resigned as producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards telecast Tuesday after coming under fire for making a gay slur.
"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Academy President Tom Sherak said in a statement issued late Tuesday. "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."
While promoting his latest directorial effort, the comedy Tower Heist, Ratner made several controversial remarks to the press. When asked about his creative process at a Los Angeles film screening, Ratner said "Rehearsal is for fags." He later apologized, but then discussed his personal sexual preferences, which included several degrading remarks about actresses Lindsay Lohan and Olivia Munn on Howard Stern's radio show.
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Ratner also issued a lengthy statement to The Hollywood Reporter calling his invitation to help produce the Oscars "the proudest moment of my career," but said he had decided to resign because he did not want his comments to take away from the ceremony. "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," Ratner said. "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."
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In the statement, Ratner also promised to take "real action" over the coming weeks and months, and said he looked forward to working with GLAAD. "I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience."
It is unclear how else Ratner's resignation will affect the Oscars. After he was named a producer, Ratner asked Eddie Murphy to host the show after working with him on Tower Heist. Murphy was considered a surprising choice for the gig after several years of avoiding the spotlight.
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