Oscar 2011: It Began with a Tweet–Ratner’s Resignation

On Friday night, Nov 4, 2011, D.C. Douglas, an actor and voice-over specialist, took his girlfriend to a special screening of Brett Ratner’s “Tower Heist” at the Hollywood’s Arclight on Sunset Blvd.  Ratner’s post-show question-and-answer session after the movie—and Douglas’ reaction to it on Twitter—put him at the center of a huge controversy.

Douglas’ tweet noting that Ratner had said “Rehearsing is for fags” during the Q&A prompted the maelstrom of news coverage that eventually led to Ratner (and then host Eddie Murphy) stepping down from the Oscar telecast.

Douglas told The Hollywood Reporter that after Ratner said the now infamous line in response to question about how he prepares a scene with actors, he and his girlfriend were shocked.  Douglas believes Ratner intended the comment as a joke, there was nothing in the director’s voice or intonation to indicate he was kidding.

Surprisingly, there was no audience reaction to the comment during Ratner’s interview. Douglas recalls: “I kept waiting for someone to follow it up in the Q&A and when they didn’t I went home and tweeted it.  Douglas tweeted: “Just saw #TowerHeist followed by Q&A with Brett Ratner. Takeaway quote: “Rehearsing is for fags.” … Yeah, he’s an impressive fella. #wtf.”

New York Magazine’s Vulture blog then ran an item based on Douglas’ tweet, which prompted other websites to pick up the story.  When Ratner issued an apology on Monday, the story became huge. Academy president Tom Sherak initially defended Ratner but warned that another embarrassing comment would not be tolerated. Then Ratner’s interview with Howard Stern—in which he boasted of his sex life and “huge balls”—became public.

On Tuesday, Ratner informed the Academy that he was stepping down as producer of the Oscars. Murphy bailed as the host on Wednesday, and Brian Grazer was named producer on Wednesday afternoon.