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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A big grovel

“American director Brett Ratner confirmed that he will not be producing next year’s Academy Awards broadcast after using a gay slur during a press conference to promote his latest film.”

This is what Pink News told us earlier this month after this guy said rehearsals were for fags.

Since then, however, Jane Lynch, who plays the delightful Sue Sylvester in Glee and is herself gay, has supported him.

“I think humour is such a personal thing,” she has said, “and, you put a microphone in somebody’s face, they’re going to say something that offends somebody.”

Well, give him his due: he’s grovelled over his remark, and here’s his statement in full:

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. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.

As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.

So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be 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 perpetuated.

As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.

I am grateful to GLAAD [Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.

That’s a pretty big grovel, and I wish everyone who insults gay people – either intentionally or otherwise – would do the same.

It’s easy to say the wrong thing. We’ve all done it, whether in the presence of someone of a different sex or a different colour or someone who has a disability. We’re spontaneous animals and associations are made quickly in our brains and words can tumble out before we realise what’s happening.

Pity Glee is only on Sky now, though. I watched two series when it was available on Freeview. (OK, OK, I just like that kind of stuff, OK? It’s camp and showy. Don’t give me a hard time.) But then Sky bought it, and I’m buggered if I’m going to subscribe to Sky for the sake of one series – even Glee.

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