After a particularly offensive week—during which he called people who rehearse "fags" and told Howard Stern about "banging" Olivia Munn—Rush Hour director and physical embodiment of everything Axe body spray stands for Brett Ratner has quit his gig producing the Oscars under heavy pressure from the Academy. Hooray! Unfortunately, the Oscars will still suck.
Well, thank God, we guess, that the Academy finally got rid of Ratner, only days after he displayed his homophobia and misogyny! (Obviously, there's no way they could have known that Brett Ratner was the man for whom the term "douchebag" had been waiting for so long. No way!) "[A]s painful as this may be for me," Ratner said in a statement, "it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents."
Indeed: it would be terrible if Ratner's real public masturbation were to be a distraction from the Academy's metaphorical public masturbation! But now an increasingly small "everyone" will be able to watch the Oscars and think about how the show is an unbearable ritual to some of the smuggest sociopaths on the planet, instead of thinking about what an unbelievably untalented asshole Brett Ratner is. The problem won't be boorish jokes told at earsplittingly-loud volumes, it will be poorly-written po-faced tributes and embarrassing attempts at hipness!
Because, really, the Oscars don't suck because of the producer—they suck because the industry that built the show as a rickety four-hour autofellatio machine has grown increasingly less charming, and because the best mainstream American film—of any genre—is all on television now. It's one thing to spend a Sunday evening on a protracted self-importance marathon when its hosts and presenters are appealing and vibrant, and when the movies it rewards are at least convincingly playing at being good; it's another to watch James Franco and Anne Hathaway bomb for 180 minutes and then hand over an award to a slightly entertaining British trifle.
But. In any event, it's unclear if Eddie Murphy will still host, given that he was hired essentially because Ratner wanted to market his new movie, or if the writers that Ratner brought on board—coincidentally, writers on Ratner's new movie!—will stick around, and the Academy hasn't named a new producer. But we feel confident predicting that the Oscars will still suck. Just not in the same way.
Here's Ratner's whole statement:
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
[THR, image via AP]