Brett Ratner out as Oscar producer after gay slur

Tue Nov 8, 2011 8:12pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film director Brett Ratner is out of a high-profile job as Oscar producer, submitting his resignation to Academy Award organizers on Tuesday in the face of an industry firestorm over his use of a gay slur.

During a question-and-answer session at a screening of his new comedy "Tower Heist" last week, Ratner was asked about rehearsals ahead of a film shoot, and he replied "rehearsing is for fags."

He later apologized publicly, but the damage was done as gay rights groups and some members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which puts on the Oscars, took issue with his use of the word "fags."

Ratner also gave an interview on Monday on shock jock Howard Stern's radio show in which he spoke in detail about his sex life, and his comments added fuel to the fire around him.

"Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable," Academy president Tom Sherak said in a statement.

Sherak said Ratner "did the right thing for the Academy and for himself."

"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," Sherak said.

The Academy said Ratner submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning. There was no word on when a replacement would be named.   Continued...