Brett Ratner Apologizes for Gay Slur at ‘Tower Heist’ Screening (Exclusive)

Director made gay slur at post-screening Q&A over the weekend

EXCLUSIVE

“Tower Heist” director and Oscar producer Brett Ratner apologized Monday for using a gay slur Friday night at a public screening of his new film.

The director lost his cool during a question and answer session for his new movie Friday night, and angered some in the audience by saying, “Rehearsal's for fags.”

In an exclusive statement to TheWrap, Ratner said:

“I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb way of expressing myself. 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 director was answering questions from the audience after introducing the movie at the Arclight Hollywood cineplex.

“The audience was stunned,” one person who was present told TheWrap. At least one person walked out, upset over the reference.

Ratner’s gaffe could be damaging since he is the producer of this year’s Oscar telecast.

The exchange went like this, according to a video of the event that was posted on the internet but later removed:

Moderator: So you get this entire group of actors together — what was rehearsal like?

Ratner: Rehearsal? What’s that? Rehearsal’s for fags. Rehearsal. Not much. A lot of prep, preparation, complex action sequences, visual effects. Storyboards, animatics. The process was I made the actors stick to the script. And they wanted to, because the script was great.

  • jhr459

    Perfect reply.

  • jhr459

    Yes it is and I'm winning!  ;)

  • Andy

    Ok, so does every time Seth McFarlane has a direct or indirect gay reference–and there are a lot of them–in Family Guy, is he in the same league as Ratner? Fine, if you think so; just looking for consistency in people's arguments, so don't let Seth off the hook. 

    You take the word “nigger” and spick”–the ultimate in perjoratives–and equate them to “gay.” I would think the word “faggot” would be the word if you want to draw parallels to someone's race. 

    • vermont

      one a bigot always a bigot dude- no matter what 

      • Andy

        I have to backtrack. For some reason, I was under the impression that Ratner said “rehearsal is gay.”  Maybe I was thinking of the Vince Vaughn dust-up with “The Dilemma” when his character said “electric cars are gay.” Anyway, my apologies. IMO, using “gay” as an adjective is pretty tame as opposed to the pejorative noun, faggot. 

    • Someone who can read.

      Are you really that blind?  Do we need to have a discussion about how “fag” is a diminutive of “faggot,” for real?  Because he didn't say “Rehearsal's for gays,” did he? 

      Here's the thing.  How about you let people feel upset without trying to talk them out of it, and YOU feel the way YOU want to, and they won't try to talk you out of it.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  What a concept.

      And if you can't do that, then ditto vermont.  A bigot can't change his stripes.

  • vermont

    we'd never let him in the club- too short in the junk department

  • Julian Myers

     As an Academy member since 1956 I suggest we now announce that in light of the troubled world conditions we are dedicating this year's Oscars to the great stars everywhere whom the seven billion
    people on earth enjoy.  Bring the Sophia Lorens, Michael Caines, Olivia de Havillands, Colin Firths,
    Sean Connerys, “names” from everywhere, mix in the Julia Andrewses, George Clooneys, Betty
    Whites, Oprah Winfreys, new young stars, Billy Crystals, Leonardo di Caprios, Clint Eastwoods, Sidney Poitiers, you-name-them.  The Academy Awards is not a comedy show.  It is a salute to
    great film contributions.  There is still time to avert the pending disaster which Mr. Murphy and Mr. Ratner are apt to represent Hollywood.with.  Julian Myers. Julian Myers Public Relations

  • Richard

    The word ‘fag’ has many connotations, as does the word ‘gay'.  If people would get their heads out of their asses, the would realize that Ratner has excelled in an industry who leads other industries in the concept of ‘diversity'.  There are many gay people who would never think of this as a gay slur.  Even more feel that because they are gay, they are the only ones who can use the word ‘fag’  Sound familiar?  Turn on any hip hop or rap album in the charts and you'll hear the ‘n’ word used as a common part of the artist's lexicon.

    How many people railed against Sean Penn in his role of Spicoli for calling a fellow surfer ‘a fag’ while being interviewed by Stu Nahan?  I mean, who cares?  

    Get over it.

  • Xeraxes

    I was pretty disgusted….many of us left. VERY disappointing! 

  • SAM

    What country was this in?  It has different uses in other regions. I know many gay people also use that verbage so let it go

  • mistermark123

    Give me a break.  People need to stop being so hypersensitive about every little word that's spoken.  (And I am a gay guy.)

  • Riod

    Gil Cates was such a gentleman.  Ratner is quite the opposite.  This is not the first distasteful remark- there is a long history of them. His brags about his sex life and his disparaging remarks about gays have disgusted many of us who have spent time in his presence.  I urge the Academy to replace this man as the producer of what should always be a classy show.

  • Tferreira23

    I think this is ridiculous.  Let's say for manner of speaking, Brett Ratner is gay and if he would have said “Rehearsal is for straights,” nobody would have said shit.   It really is about being too goddamn sensitive.  Actually it isn't about being too goddamn sensitive.  It's about actually WANTING to be offended; not NATURALLY being offended.  All of you people all upset are being hypocritical.  Because if the above statement had been said, none of you would be upset.  How happy are you people on a regular basis because I just get the idea that you people are miserable and if you are miserable homosexuals, that is not Brett Ratner's fault.  That is yours.  There seems to be quite a few people that are gay on this comments board and don't have a problem with what he said.  Probably because they are comfortable with who they are and don't give a damn what some guy said that they have never met.  

  • Seems

    Fag is not even close to meaning the same thing as those words you use.  Those words clearly have no other uses than to demean based on race/ethnicity.  The way he said it was not even in reference to sexual preference.  It was akin to calling some one a sisssy.  I guess that word is no not acceptable either.  I for one know many strait men that act like faggots/sissies/bitches/punks.  It has nothing to do with taking it in the ass.  So get over it!

    Also-fag is used in some places to refer to a cigarette and also at one time a faggot referred to a bundle of sticks.  Again-those words you type never meant anything more than derogatory slurs. 

    • Anon

      A lot of derogatory slurs are words that are commonly used in other cultures or their origins are not solely rooted in their harmful usage, but that doesn't disqualify them as derogatory slurs in our culture. Nigger is a variation of the Latin word “niger” which literally translates to “black”. It's use as a slur didn't take affect until later when people started using it not just to refer to skin color, but to also put down that individual and use it with a negative connotation. Chink can also mean a small crevice, but it is also a slur to put down the Chinese. Just like “faggot” is supposed to be slang for a bundle of sticks, but is now used as a derogatory term for homosexuals. All you have to do is look at how the word is used and what type of people use it and the meaning is pretty clear. Gay bashers throw around the word faggot the same way racists throw around nigger or kike. It's spray painted on homosexual's properties, it's written on protestor signs like “God hates fags”… it is a word that is rooted in hate just like the others that were mentioned above. Also using it to refer to your straight friends as sissies or bitches doesn't make it any less offensive to the gay community. You are essentially saying that a faggot is a weak person and if a gay person is a faggot well… you should see the correlation by now. You're also equating women with weakness, but that is a whole different discussion. As for use of the word in other cultures, Brett Ratner is not English so it's pretty obvious he wasn't referring to cigarettes, but rather using a slur that is most commonly associated with homosexuals in a negative way. Other cultures throw cunt around like it's no big deal, but in the US it is considered the most offensive word for women. Just because it's used somewhere else in a different manner doesn't mean it's any less offensive here. Fact is Ratner used fags in a negative way the same way you would use any other slur, so surprise surprise he got shit for it. I personally believe we shouldn't give a lot of words the power we do by making them taboo (hence the reason certain communities employ slurs or variations of such as common slang terms now within the community), but there are better way to articulate a point without resorting to any type of slur especially if you are a public figure. Do I think Brett Ratner is a gay basher? No. Is he an idiot? Absolutely.

  • Lacuna Perpetual

    It's a minority, genius.