"Tower Heist" director Brett Ratner is notorious for his loose lips. But on Monday, the verbally liberal Ratner was forced to make a public apology after he claimed that "rehearsal is for f--s" during a Friday screening of the Eddie Murphy/ Ben Stiller comedy. Ratner, who has raised eyebrows in the past with sexual comments he made about actress Olivia Munn, as well as flack from satellite radio host Howard Stern about a story he recently told that involved the late Michael Jackson, released a statement on Monday apologizing for his use of the gay slur.
"I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself," Ratner said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
The original comment came during an audience Q&A following a Hollywood screening of the movie on Friday during which a fan asked what rehearsals were like with stars Murphy, Stiller and Casey Affleck.
Ratner's response was, "Rehearsal? What's that? Rehearsal's for f--s. Rehearsal. Not much. A lot of prep, preparation, complex action sequences, visual effects." The statement was condemned by gay-rights organization GLAAD, which acknowledged the apology but said it did not go far enough.
The comments also drew notice from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which tapped Ratner to produce the 2012 Academy Awards. Deadline Hollywood reported that AMPAS president Tom Sherak stood behind Ratner but warned that the organization would not put up with any more indiscretions.
"His remarks were inappropriate," Sherak said. "He said it best in his apology, that his comments were dumb and insensitive. When you think of our community, it went against all the beliefs of the creative community we represent. He knew it was wrong and he issued that response as quickly as any human being ever has. The bottom line is, this won't and can't happen again. It will not happen again. He apologized and we will move forward."
Sherak said he's known Ratner for a long time and is aware that the director has many gay and lesbian friends and that the apology came from the heart. Ratner was a controversial choice for the Oscar gig and his recent press appearances have caused some in Hollywood to question whether he's up for the gig. He called in to Stern's satellite radio show on Tuesday (November 8) and discussed having sex with Lindsay Lohan and how he insists that every woman he has sex with take an STD test first. He also defended a story he told on late-night TV recently about going on a 4 a.m. water-balloon raid on homeless people with Jackson.
Ratner has tapped "Heist" star Murphy to host the 2012 Academy Awards.