Should Brett Ratner have stayed on as Oscar producer? Academy members speak out

Brett-Ratner

Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Today’s news that Brett Ratner is out as a producer of this season’s Academy Awards telecast has Oscar voters talking…and disagreeing. Over the course of the day — before Ratner’s resignation from the show became public — I heard from 10 Academy members, six of whom say Ratner should have been allowed to produce the show, and four who felt he should resign or be fired. Here’s a sampling of their responses: 

From a member of the PR branch: “I am the last guy to throw stones when people mouth off, so it was hard for me to judge the guy, until I heard about the Howard Stern thing. This is a guy who is as crazy as you think he is. He’s desperate to have street cred. And fag is a street label. When I heard he used that word, I thought, Okay, you’re stupid, you’re an idiot, slap your hand, never do it again. But the other thing shows bad judgment on every level. It’s disrespectful to women, to his audience, to the Academy who hired him. Where’s Eddie [Murphy] in all of this? Eddie and he are new friends. They’re not old friends. I would question whether Eddie is still in. I would guess he’ll still do it, based on the fact he committed to doing this show. Keep in mind he’d be sort of defending Brett by stepping aside too. If I were Eddie and his team, I’d say, ‘We’ll stay as long as we get to approve the producer.'” [Ed. note: When reached by EW, Murphy's reps declined to comment on Ratner's resignation.]

From a member of the producers branch: “You don’t hire someone like Brett Ratner and get all crazed when he makes a misstep like that. I don’t think he should have been fired.”

From a member of the producers branch: “Brett is such a talented man in terms of knowing how to entertain the masses. He has directed four films that have grossed more than $100 million domestically. He is a great showman and entertainer. He also lacks political correctness, tact and self awareness. The Academy knew that in hiring him, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. You cannot hire Ricky Gervais to host the Globes and expect him to be polite. The same is true in hiring Brett.”

From a member of the producers branch: “On the one hand, it is very difficult to find anybody of any kind of merit who is interested in producing the Academy Awards. And the fact is, he got Eddie Murphy, which is a really interesting idea. So throwing that off course wouldn’t be the smartest thing for the Academy to do. That said, what a completely dumb, reckless, and irresponsible thing for him to say.”

From a member of the PR branch: “Don’t care about having lied about who he’s slept with. Feel very strongly about fags comment.”

From an Oscar-winning writer-director: “The [initial] apology was not good enough or classy enough. Missing was the world’s greatest recovery joke about rehearsing, homophobia and turning a bellyflop into working harder to make the best show ever. He shoulda tweeted Albert Brooks and asked for help with that! Or James Brooks. Or Brooks and Dunn. Anyone!”

Needless to say, Ratner’s resignation and where the Academy goes from here will be a hot topic of conversation at this Saturday’s Governor’s Awards. Be sure to check back here at EW.com for our full report from the event.

Dave on Twitter: @davekarger

Read more:
Brett Ratner steps down as Oscars producer amid controversy
Brett Ratner apologizes for lying about Olivia Munn, use of gay slur
Brett Ratner talks Olivia Munn relationship, fallout: ‘She talked about my shortcomings … She’s bitter.’

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