Eddie Murphy Pulls Out As Oscar Host

Comedian Eddie Murphy is pulling out as host of the Oscars — just 24 hours after producer Brett Ratner resigned. Ratner came under fire for using a gay slur.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Eddie Murphy is out. He quit today as host of the next Academy Awards broadcast. His announcement comes after the departure of the Oscar ceremony's producer. Brett Ratner used a homophobic slur, and quit in response to public anger. Ratner is also the director of Murphy's latest film. NPR's Ina Jaffe has the story.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: Brett Ratner has talents for directing, for producing - and apparently, for making a bad thing worse. A couple of days after he used that homophobic slur, he went on the Howard Stern show, where he engaged in a long, rambling discussion of the graphic details of his sexual practices and partners, almost none of which is airable on this broadcast - OK, well, this maybe, about Lindsay Lohan.

(SOUNDBITE OF "HOWARD TV")

BRETT RATNER: She came home, and I had a Victoria's Secret model in my bed and...

HOWARD STERN, HOST:

No.

RATNER: ...they got in a huge fight. And it was like, a crazy thing at my house...

JAFFE: Ratner's reputation as a bad boy was no secret, says Kim Masters, editor-at-large for the Hollywood Reporter. But, she says, the Academy must have felt hiring him was worth the risk.

KIM MASTERS: There's this desire to try to be young and relevant. And I think there was just a hope that this would boost the Academy show ratings.

JAFFE: Eddie Murphy resigning right after Ratner was no surprise, says Masters, but it won't do him any good, either.

MASTERS: Eddie Murphy has well-established a reputation now as being a difficult personality. He is now delivering another insult to the movie business.

JAFFE: The Motion Picture Academy said it wished Murphy well. In a statement on Ratner's departure, the Academy said he did the right thing for the Academy, and for himself.

And as with all Hollywood scandals, there's rehab. In this case, Ratner is working with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on a series of public discussions of homophobic slurs in movies and television.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News.

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