Brett Ratner Resigns from Oscars Amid Controversy

The director of Tower Heist leaves the producer's chair after making some seriously ill-advised remarks in recent interviews.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

You can't say this comes as a surprise.

At a recent interview about Tower Heist, the film's director, Brett Ratner, made the following, very ill-conceived statement: "Rehearsals are for f*gs." Ratner promptly apologized for his ridiculously poor choice of words – and not, we note with mild interest, for disparaging the ever-so-important rehearsal process – but the damage had already been done. Ratner, who had previously been offered the producer's seat for this year's Academy Awards, has stepped down from the position amidst concerns that his recent remarks (which also included, in a separate interview, thoroughly tactless anecdotes about "banging" Olivia Munn "when she wasn't Asian" and then "forgetting" about her) were damaging the integrity of the Academy Awards.

We'll let you insert your own joke about the "integrity" of the Academy Awards. Knock yourself out.

Academy President Tom Sherak made the initial announcement, which claims that Ratner's decision was his own. "He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself. Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable."

Ratner then followed up with a lengthy formal announcement of his own (you can read it in full here) that is largely devoted to a well-written apology to the LGBT community, with a vow to make amends for his remarks. Regarding his resignation, Ratner said the following: "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."

Ourselves, we're a little disappointed in the whole scenario. Believe it or not, we were really looking forward to seeing what Ratner – a very mainstream showman – was going to do with the Oscars telecast, which for decades has been mired in a variety show mindset that doesn't really connect with most modern audiences. (Interpretive dance. That's all we're going to say.) He made a wise initial decision to hire Eddie Murphy as the show's emcee, and we'd be curious to hear what else he had planned, especially now that we'll never see it. No word yet on his official replacement. Maybe Paul W.S. Anderson is avaiable?

CraveOnline will be back with more Academy Awards news after we rehearse our acceptance speeches.


Photo Credit: Andres Otero/