Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brett Ratner resigns as Oscars producer

After Monday's public relations nightmare for Bret Ratner, the Oscars co-producer has submitted his letter of resignation to the Academy. The organization that hired him announced this Tuesday evening.

Academy President Tom Sherak said he accepted the resignation.

"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Sherak said in a statement. "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 was under increased media scrutiny throughout the day Monday and early Tuesday after New York Magazine's Vulture blog reported some of his comments while promoting his new film "Tower Heist," starring Oscars host Eddie Murphy.

Ratner also issued a statement, as published in The Hollywood Reporter:
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

Sherak told Deadline.com Monday: "His remarks were inappropriate. ... The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again. He apologized and we will move forward."

Ratner was announced as a co-producer with Don Mischer in August for the 84th Academy Awards telecast. This would have been Ratner’s first involvement with the show. Mischer will be involved for the second consecutive year, serving as a producer and as the telecast director.

Deadline.com's Mike Fleming wondered if Murphy will stay on to host, after Ratner's resignation.

"I wouldn’t be surprised that after 'Tower Heist''s lackluster box office and all this maelstrom, Murphy might wonder why he ever said yes in the first place, and he has a perfect out," Fleming wrote Tuesday.

Fleming also wondered who would replace Ratner, mentioning New York stage producer Scott Sanders.

The Gold Knight team will continue reporting on the 84th Academy Awards. Stay tuned to the blog, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for the latest news and information.

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