The Oscars are more than three months away and already “Tower Heist” director Brett Ratner — producer of this year’s Academy Awards telecast — is apologizing for things he has said.
Yesterday he issued a mea culpa for using a gay slur at a weekend Q&A that followed a screening of “Tower Heist.” (“Rehearsing is for [pejorative gay word],” he told a crowd at L.A.’s Arclight Cinemas, according to Vulture.)
“It was a dumb way of expressing myself,” Ratner said in the statement he released yesterday. “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.”
Academy President Tom Sherak then issued his own statement accepting that apology: “The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again. ... The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart.”
But not everyone is so forgiving.
Journalist Mark Harris was even more to the point in a piece he wrote for Grantland. “There’s not really a long, nuanced debate to be had about this,” Harris says. “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.”
The apology for the gay slur isn’t the only one Ratner has had to made lately. He also said sorry about some recent comments in which he claimed to have had sex with Olivia Munn. (Ratner said yesterday on Howard Stern’s show that he was just joking.) While chatting with Stern, he also engaged in some graphic description of his sexual experiences — as guests on Stern’s show are wont to do — including an admission that he did the deed with a much younger Lindsay Lohan.
He hasn’t said sorry for anything he mentioned during that broadcast, but it’s entirely possible another apology is imminent.
In light of all this, should Ratner, as Harris bluntly suggests, be fired? Or should he get another chance? Or should he never have been hired for this gig in the first place, given his reputation as a less-than-pedigreed filmmaker and a bit of a, um, ladies’ man? Vote in the poll below to weigh in.