Eddie Murphy Steps Down as Oscars Host

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It’s been incredibly strange to watch Brett Ratner — who, admittedly, was never one of our favorite directors — implode over the past few days. First he made confusing, vaguely racist comments about his fling with Olivia Munn, and then he told the audience at a Tower Heist that “rehearsing is for fags.” Finally, after receiving an entirely understandable backlash for his week of dudebro #realtalk, Ratner stepped down as the producer of the 2012 Academy Awards telecast. And now, The New York Times reports that he’s taken the show’s host with him.

Yes, Eddie Murphy has bowed out of his commitment to emcee the Oscars. “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job,” he said in a statement. Although that doesn’t exactly explain his decision, it certainly appears that he’s flouncing in solidarity with Ratner — who he clearly owes a debt for reviving his career with a starring role in Tower Heist. But since the hosting gig could also have been great for Murphy’s still-shaky career (Puss in Boots did, after all, crush Tower Heist at the box office last weekend), it remains to be seen whether his solidarity will pay off. Meanwhile, is it too soon to nominate Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to replace him?