The Academy Award telecast is a big deal. After the Superbowl, it's pretty much the second biggest televised event in the U.S.A. (last year had 37.6 million viewers). In fact, it's watched all around the world. This year, for the February 2012 broadcast, there was a new producer hired to take over the Oscars, Brett Ratner.
During a Q&A session prior to a screening of his film Tower Heist in Los Angeles November 4, 2012, Ratner said
"rehearsal's for fags."
The fallout for him saying that - for that flippant bit of homophobia - continued even after his apology, until only a few days later, he stepped down from the Oscars job.
What's good about this homophobic moment and it's aftermath?
Well, for one thing, it's a loud and clear statement that putting down GLBTQ people is no longer acceptable. We'll start with that being true in the entertainment industry, and hopefully it will spread from there.
And two, it may a turning point - at least for Brett. He's teaming up now with GLAAD, and together they're planning
"public discussions featuring leaders in the entertainment industry that will address anti-LGBT jokes and slurs in films and on television today as well as their trickle-down effect into popular culture."
So the upcoming Oscars won't be produced by Brett Ratner (and Eddie Murphy, who was to host, has also withdrawn from the show.) And it's all because of a gay slur.
Words have power. And I for one am glad we're starting to hold people accountable for their words of hate.
ps - the Oscars telecast is moving on, with Brian Grazer taking over Brett Ratner's producing role, and Billy Crystal hosting for what will be the ninth time.
It was announced today that as a result of the talks with GLAAD, Brett Ratner will direct and produce a series of videos of celebrities coming out of the closet as ALLIES of the GLBTQ community.***