I love the Oscars as pageant, but hate them as any indication of the value or worth of art. I watch them every year, but usually by the time the nominations have happened I've lost my interest - the standard, boring, middlebrow shit always ends up in the running.
This year the pageantry promised to be especially interesting as Brett Ratner was producing and Eddie Murphy was hosting. But last week Ratner stepped right in it, making a quip to the effect that rehearsing is for fags (which is why the gays are always so well prepared, I guess), and people flipped out. He also said a bunch of gross stuff about Olivia Munn, but many fewer people flipped out.
This afternoon he stepped down from his position as producer of the Academy Awards ceremony, although I imagine he was at least a little bit pushed. He sent out this message to the people of Hollywood:
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
So now what? Is Eddie Murphy still hosting? Who will take over the show? This is the most interesting thing to happen to the Oscars since Sacheen Littlefeather.