Oscars: Brett Ratner must be fired …


By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: The blogosphere isn’t backing off of commercial director Brett Ratner, whose derogatory comment regarding rehearsals being for “fags” and a crude, misogynistic diatribe on Monday’s “Howard Stern” show have many in the media demanding that he be fired from his upcoming gig as producer of the Academy Awards.

Mark Harris started the charge on Grantland, writing that Ratner’ homophobic remarks were inexcusable in 2011.

“There’s not really a long, nuanced debate to be had about this,” Harris wrote. “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.”

Several other Oscar bloggers weighed in on the situation, which continued to hang over the Academy Tuesday.

Salon movie write Andrew O’Hehir added, “He should quit or be fired, and the Academy needs to hear that loud and clear from the press and the public. This isn’t the first time Ratner has revealed himself to be an arrogant and insensitive creep, and quite likely a homophobe, and no doubt it won’t be the last.”

Reporting for The Wrap, Steve Pond says that a survey of anonymous Academy members revealed very little support for the “Tower Heist” director, with some saying Ratner “had to go” as producer of the Oscar telecast.

“Not for the original remark, but for the pure lack of discretion,” one member told Pond. “Once the producer becomes the story, it’s not good for the Academy.”

“Not good” is an understatement. Any Academy member listening to Ratner on “Howard Stern” – where he called in to defend his position in a lewd story involving actress Olivia Munn – had to cringe as the director claimed he needed to be more sensitive now that he had been hired as producer of the Oscars … then ramble on about masturbation, sex with Lindsay Lohan, the size of his genitals, and so on.

The Academy released a statement Monday night saying Ratner would not be disciplined, but has remained silent since. As Pond notes, “The Academy’s options at this point are simple: censure but support Ratner while slapping a muzzle on him until after the Oscars, or fire him and move quickly to bring in a replacement to work alongside the well-liked (and eminently restrained) producer Don Mischer.”

He also continues that this scandal looks bad for Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, who championed the Ratner hire. The director’s cruel, insensitive opinions of women and the gay community has some pointing back to Hudson’s public-relations mishap in 2008, when — as executive director of Film Independent (FIND) – her L.A. Film Festival director, Richard Raddon, donated money to the campaign for Prop. 8, a piece of legislation that banned gay marriage in California.

Ratner should do the honorable thing and quit. Take the decision out of the Academy’s hands. Fall on your own sword. Make the mature decision.

But if (and when) he goes, does Eddie Murphy – Ratner’s selection for next year’s Oscar host – follow?

I’d hope not. I still think Murphy is an inspired choice to host the Oscar telecast. I just don’t believe, in light of recent events, that Ratner should be the man behind the scenes pulling the strings for what’s supposed to be Hollywood’s most prestigious event.

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