Eddie Murphy has dropped out as host of the 2012 Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced today. His resignation comes just a day after the telecast’s co-producer (and Murphy’s friend) Brett Ratner stepped down from his Oscars role after drawing criticism for his use of an anti-gay slur.
Ratner, who has directed films including X-Men: The Last Stand and the Rush Hour series, caused outrage last weekend when, during a Q&A discussion following a screening of his new movie, Tower Heist, which stars Murphy, he delared that “rehearsal is for fags.” Ratner followed those comments with an explicit conversation about his sex life on Monday’s The Howard Stern Show.
Murphy has also used his fair share of homophobic language in the past. As The New York Times’ David Carr points out, Murphy’s 1984 stand-up special, Delirious, features a rant against the gay community.
In a statement, academy president Tom Sherak said, “I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well.” Murphy added that he understood “each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers.”
Now, less than four months before the ceremony, the academy is left looking for a new host and producer. (Ratner’s original co-producer, Don Mischer, will remain in place.) After last year’s telecast, hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco, was generally considered a flop, the academy hoped that bringing in a seasoned comedian like Murphy could reinvigorate the show.