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Eddie Murphy Pulls Out as Oscars Host After Producer Quits

Actor Eddie Murphy withdrew as host of the 2012 Oscar awards telecast following the exit of producer Brett Ratner over controversial remarks.

“I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Murphy, 50, was working with Ratner and a team of writers to headline the show scheduled for Feb. 26 on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network. Ratner, director of the Murphy comedy “Tower Heist,” stepped down yesterday amid criticism over a gay slur made after a promotional screening of the film.

“I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony,” Murphy said in the statement. “I was truly looking forward to being part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop.”

Ratner was working on the telecast with Don Mischer, who produced last year’s show and also has overseen telecasts of television’s Emmy Awards.

Sherak has approached possible replacements for Ratner including producer Brian Grazer, the Hollywood Reporter said, citing people familiar with the situation. They would join Mischer as co-producer, the newspaper said.

Ratner was also criticized for remarks about sexual escapades with actresses during an interview on Howard Stern’s Nov. 7 radio program. The producer had urged Murphy’s selection as the show’s host. It would have been the actor’s first time hosting the program.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, fell 4.3 percent to $33.79 at the close in New York trading. The shares had declined 5.9 percent this year before today.

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