Eddie Murphy has quit as host of the Academy Awards after friend Brett Ratner left the show as producer following an uproar over his use of the word "fags,"a gay slur.
The news of Murphy's departure came Wednesday, a day after Ratner quit as producer of the Feb. 26 show. Ratner had reportedly lured Murphy to host the Oscars, and directed the recently released film "Tower Heist," which stars Murphy.
The director, who has been behind blockbusters such as the Rush Hour franchise and X-Men:The Last Stand, left amid criticism after having said "rehearsing is for fags," during a question-and-answer session at a screening of "Tower Heist."
Murphy said in a news release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that he had looked forward to playing host at the Oscars but that he understands and supports "each party's decision with regard to a change of producers."
"I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well," Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement.
Ratner had given an interview Monday with Howard Stern where the director spoke in detail about his sex life. Howard TV posted this video of Ratner's comments on Youtube, (WARNING: SEXUALLY PERVASIVE LANGUAGE):
Ratner has apologized for his "fags" statement, and is working with the gay media watchdog GLAAD “to convene public discussions featuring leaders in the entertainment industry about promoting fair and accurate inclusions of LGBT people and stories.”
"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," wrote Ratner in a letter to the entertainment industry. "To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly."
The New York Times reports that GLAAD had "strongly objected to the derisive remark about gays," and that the academy received a flood of objections by academy members and media commentators about Ratner's remarks.
David Carr noted in the Times Media Decoder blog following Ratner's departure, that the academy should perhaps take a look at Murphy's iconic 1983 "Delirious" stand-up comedy television special. The special featured a rant on gays, with lines such as "I have nightmares about gay people," and many others that are too vulgar to write on this site.
There has been no official word yet on who is in talks to replace Ratner or Murphy.