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Brett Ratner Resigns from Oscar-Producing Duties, Murphy Exits

UPDATE: Eddie Murphy has quit as host for the 2012 Oscars as a result of Brett Ratner’s departure as producer. Deadline now reports one of the leading names to replace Ratner is Brian Grazer, his Tower Heist producer and one of the leading producers at NBC/Universal. This is unconfirmed and possibly circulated while Murphy was still host.

Tower Heist director Brett Ratner was set to produce this winter’s 84th Academy Awards telecast with Eddie Murphy hosting. But in making press rounds for his new film this past week, Ratner has made several offensive and highly questionable comments, with the highlights being “rehearsal is for fags.” He also discussed his sex life on Howard Stern‘s radio show. Unsurprisingly, Ratner will no longer produce this coming Oscars.

Both Ratner and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released statements confirming the news after The Hollywood Reporter first broke word of the departure. As with anytime someone in the public spotlight uses the word “fag,” the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) had stepped in and already helped Ratner begin his repair process. The director/producer will lead several industry discussions on “promoting fair and accurate inclusions of LGBT people and stories.” 

No words has been given as to whether Murphy will retain his hosting duties in light of Ratner’s exit. Presumably, if he likes the producer the Academy hires in Ratner’s stead (or has a hand in deciding), he will stay. Candidly, Murphy could still use the PR.

Here is Ratner’s public apology letter:

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

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