LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) Brett Ratner's resignation Tuesday as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards raises questions about whether Eddie Murphy will remain as the show's host.
Murphy, who worked with Ratner on the just-released comedy "Tower Heist," was considered an unconventional choice for Oscar host, hand-picked by Ratner to shake up the staid awards ceremony and draw in new - and younger- viewers.
Neither Murphy nor The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which confirmed Ratner's departure Tuesday, would comment on the host job. TV veteran Don Mischer, who helmed the 2011 broadcast, remains as a telecast producer
AMPAS President Tom Sherak said in a statement that the 42-year-old Ratner, under fire for using an anti-gay slur, "did the right thing for the academy and for himself."
"Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable,'' Sherak said.
Ratner used a pejorative term for gay men during a question-and-answer session at a screening of "Tower Heist." He also discussed his sexual exploits on a recent episode of "The Howard Stern Show," leading to speculation that it wasn't just the slur, for which Ratner apologized, that had Oscar organizers worrying.
In a written resignation statement released Tuesday, Ratner said he is "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 perpetrated."
The director, whose credits also include the "Rush Hour" films, said that being asked to produce the Oscar show "was the proudest moment of my career," but he didn't want to distract from the academy "and the high ideals it represents."