Updated at 5:44 p.m. PT
By now most everyone's heard that after a Nov. 4 screening "Tower Heist" at L.A.'s Arclight Cinemas, director Brett Ratner came out for a Q&A, and when asked by the moderator whether he prepares and rehearses with his actors before shooting a scene, Ratner waved his hand and said, "rehearsal's for fags." New York mag's Vulture blog was among the first to report this, culling sources and Twitter feeds, and by the end of the day Monday, the story had gone viral and Ratner issued an apology.
He told The Wrap, “I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb way of expressing myself. Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.”
Forget for a moment that Ratner just recently said that he "banged" Olivia Munn, but "she wasn't Asian back then" -- something he later said he lied about, and then apologized for. Even without that context, the notion that you can still be colossally dumb, to use Ratner's own word, not to mention outrageously insensitive. As Marc Harris so eloquently wrote in his blog, "There’s not really a long, nuanced debate to be had about this. If he had used an equivalent racial or religious slur, the discussion would go something like, 'You’re fired.' Apology or not. The same rule applies here. You don’t get a mulligan on homophobia. Not in 2011."
For as silly as the Oscars can seem at times, it's still a show that's meant to represent the best that the film industry has to offer. Ratner in no way fits that bill. He stepped down from producing the Oscars on Tuesday. "He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself," Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement.