It was announced this evening that director Brett Ratner has stepped down as producer of next year’s Oscar telecast following his public use of a anti-gay slur over the weekend, which resulted in widespread anger and immediate discussions with GLAAD. In addition, it has been announced that Ratner will also now work with GLAAD to convene a series of public discussions on LGBT images in Hollywood.
During a question and answer session about his film ‘Tower Heist,’ Ratner was asked whether he rehearses with his actors before shooting a scene. Ratner replied, "Rehearsing is for f*gs," as originally reported by New York Magazine's Vulture blog.
Following meetings with GLAAD as well as outrage from community members and allies, Ratner issued an apology and today resigned as producer of the 84th Annual Academy Awards.
“When we sat down with Brett today, he seemed very sincere in his desire to use this experience as a way to begin speaking out against anti-gay language in popular culture,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD. “We believe this resignation is just the first step and will be announcing a series of concrete actions in coming days and weeks with Brett.”
“Hollywood has the power and responsibility to grow acceptance of all communities,” said GLAAD Acting President Mike Thompson. “We look forward to working with Ratner and the industry in promoting positive, culture-changing images of our community and sending a message that such slurs, used to belittle gay and lesbian youth and adults every day, have no place in mainstream popular culture or the industry that creates it.”
Ratner's full letter reads as follows:
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.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has also released a statement about Ratner's resignation:
This morning, Brett Ratner submitted his resignation as a producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards to Academy President Tom Sherak. Ratner then issued an open letter to the entertainment industry in which he explained his decision. “He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself,” Sherak said. “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.”
GLAAD and Ratner are working to convene public discussions featuring leaders in the entertainment industry about promoting fair and accurate inclusions of LGBT people and stories. The discussions will address anti-LGBT jokes and slurs in films and on television today as well as their origins within the industry and the trickle-down effect into popular culture. The first event will take place in coming weeks with additional discussions to take place over the next three years. GLAAD will announce further details soon.