Eddie Murphy quits as Oscar host


With the 84th Academy Awards only three and a half months away, the big awards show is scrambling to get the production back on track. Eddie Murphy (pictured) withdrew as host a day after Brett Ratner resigned under fire as producer.

By late Wednesday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Brian Grazer will join Don Mischer as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards. But they still have to find a new host. The Oscar broadcast is scheduled to air Sunday, February 26th on ABC – and on networks in more than 200 other countries.

“I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak.

Murphy issued a statement which avoided any mention of the gay-bashing comments which got Ratner in hot water. “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job,” said the comedian and actor.

“Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent,” Sherak had said a day earlier after Ratner submitted his resignation.

“Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly,” Ratner said in a public statement. “As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.”

He continued, “So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.”

There was no immediate announcement of who will replace Ratner as producer of Hollywood’s biggest awards show. It is unlikely that a new host will be named until the producer is in place.