When you think Oscars, you don’t think of filmmaker Brett Ratner. Ratner is best known for brash, bawdy action-comedies like the Rush Hour trilogy (all of which he directed). However, Ratner also represented the 2012 Academy Awards brave opportunity to do everything they said they wanted to do: break new ground, be edgy, bring in a younger audience.
And things started off great! Oscar Producer Brett Ratner immediately pulled in a host that made everyone gasp with intrigue. Comedy icon Eddie Murphy.
However, Ratner managed to upset key demographics and get the axe within days of going on the publicity tour for his latest film Tower Heist (co-starring Murphy.)
Ratner mentioned gay slurs, blatantly sexual acts, and glorifies his own sexual prowess. Not once, not twice; but repeatedly during a 90-minute phone interview on the Howard Stern Sirius Satellite radio show.
Well, Ratner quickly resigned before being fired, but not before writing an apology to his colleagues:
An Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry from Brett Ratner
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.