Up until this last week, lame filmmaking was probably what most would consider Brett Ratner’s greatest sin. But then in the past week he went on the record making some truly atrocious comments about gays and actress Olivia Munn. In an interview during the press junket for his latest film TOWER HEIST, Ratner was asked if he rehearsed his actors and he responded, “Rehearsing’s for fags.” Previously that week he qualified rumors of a past relationship with Munn by bragging, “I banged her a few times, but I forgot her.” Shortly after, Ratner apologized for both statements. And he copped to not ever having had a sexual relationship with Munn.
|Both host Eddie Murphy and producer Brett Ratner departed the Oscars show this week.|
The comments were especially egregious since Ratner had just been hired to produce next year’s Academy Awards show. Hollywood’s most prestigious event of the year didn’t need that kind of awful press. Thus, Ratner was fired immediately.
Only he wasn’t.
Academy President Tom Sherak decided to let Ratner’s apology be enough and thus let him keep his job. Well, not surprisingly, that didn’t sit well with a lot of people in Hollywood. The outcry in 24 hours was such that Ratner was forced to resign. My question is why wasn’t he fired outright? Why did Sherak not act decisively and make the easy and wholly justified choice?
It may seem naïve to expect people in Tinseltown to act righteously, but we should. Discouraging prejudice of any kind so abhorrent should be a no-brainer. And such talk must be deemed punishable. Ratner apologized, yes, but he still should have been fired. And Sherak should have done so before the public outcry forced everyone’s hand. If Ratner’s slurs had been of a racial or religious kind, would Sherak have waffled? I doubt it.
In some respects, Sherak’s handling of the whole affair was as ridiculous as Ratner’s running off at the mouth. Then, when Eddie Murphy quit as host of the show, to form a silly and ersatz sense of solidarity with his TOWER HEIST director, Sherak had a full-blown disaster on his hands. He quickly and wisely hired veteran producer Brian Grazer, a beloved man in Hollywood, to helm the upcoming show. And now Billy Crystal is on board to host too. Good choices both. Let’s hope that the rest of the Academy's decisions this year continue to burnish the industry's reputation rather than tarnish it.