Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Tom Sherak gave a candid interview to the Los Angeles Times Thursday, two days after embattled Tower Heist director Brett Ratner stepped down as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards show.
On Wednesday, Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy announced that he would not host the show. Brian Grazer will replace Ratner as producer, and Billie Crystal will fill in as host.
While most believed that Ratner's anti-gay slur was primarily responsible for his resignation, Sherak told the Los Angeles Times that it was both his insensitive comment (rehearsal's for fags) and a subsequent appearance on The Howard Stern Show that cost Ratner his job.
It wasn't just one thing, Sherak said. He went a step over the line in the accumulation of the things he did. Though media coverage of Ratner's ousting largely focused on the defamatory comment, Ratner himself indicated it was more than a single incident that prompted his resignation, referring to hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances in his statement announcing he would step down.
Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career, the statement continued. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.
Sherak told the Times that Ratner ended his association with the Academy because he was trying to protect us.
When asked if he felt Ratner's behavior tarnished the image of the Oscars, Sherak answered, I hope not. If someone feels it does, then we will work really hard getting the tarnish off. It wasn't us, it was someone who worked for us.
Sherak added that Ratner will not attend the awards show, but he will keep his Academy membership.
In his cringe-inducing interview with Howard Stern, Ratner discussed intimate details of his relationship with Lindsay Lohan, announced himself as a world-class performer of cunnilingus, and admitted that he had lied days earlier when bragging that he had banged actress Olivia Munn. He even went as far as discussing his own mother's pubic hair.
Sherak told the Los Angeles Times that he did not hear the interview until someone emailed to tell him about it. Later in the day I went home. I put it on and I started listening to it. Next morning he resigned.
Asked about his initial thoughts upon hearing the interview, Sherak said, I knew why I don't listen to Howard Stern. I felt appalled. Oh my gosh, oh wow. Thank God my wife didn't hear it. I was appalled. Brett called me the next day he said, 'Tom, I need to resign.' I said thank you. He said I'm not going to hurt the academy or you and I have to fix it. I have to resign.
As part of his of penance, Ratner has partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for a series of concrete actions addressing defamatory language in popular culture.
IBTimes spoke to Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs, about the unlikely partnership.
It's a part of life that each one of us has said something that they wish they didn't, said Graddick. I believe Brett when he says he wants to help people understand that this language is unacceptable...What we want to do now is take a negative incident and turn it into something positive.