- - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ratner resigns as Academy Awards producer

Brett Ratner resigned Tuesday as producer of next year’s Academy Awards, one day after apologizing for using a gay slur at a screening of his latest film.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed Mr. Ratner’s departure. President Tom Sherak said in a statement that the 42-year-old filmmaker “is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable.”

Mr. Ratner used a pejorative term for gay men during a question-and-answer session at a screening of his film “Tower Heist.” He also discussed his sexual exploits on a recent episode of “The Howard Stern Show.”

Mr. Ratner issued a lengthy statement Tuesday apologizing for his behavior and explaining his resignation as producer of the 2012 Oscar telecast. The academy had announced in August that Mr. Ratner would produce the show with TV veteran Don Mischer, who helmed the 2011 broadcast.

In a letter beginning, “Dear Colleagues,” Mr. Ratner apologized for “the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances.”

Mr. Ratner went on to say that he is “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 perpetrated.”

The director, whose credits include the “Rush Hour” films, thanked the 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.”

Adele has throat surgery to stop bleeding issue

Adele has undergone throat surgery to stop a recurrent condition that caused her to cancel tour dates and promotional appearances for the rest of the year.

According to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Massachusetts General Hospital said the British singer underwent vocal cord microsurgery to stop recurrent bleeding from a benign polyp. The condition is usually the result of unstable blood vessels in the vocal cord that can rupture.

The hospital said the 23-year-old Grammy winner came to Boston to undergo the surgery with Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center. The hospital said Dr. Zeitels expects Adele to make a full recovery from the laser microsurgery.

Bieber to take paternity test, plans lawsuit of his own

Justin Bieber will take a paternity test and then plans to sue the woman who has filed a paternity suit against him, a representative for the teen pop star said Monday.

Matthew Hiltzik said the 17-year-old singer will take a paternity test when he returns to the U.S. within the next two weeks. He also said Justin’s team plans to “vigorously pursue all available legal remedies to protect Justin.”

The paternity suit was filed last week in San Diego Superior Court by Mariah Yeater. She said she had just turned 19 when she and Justin, then 16, had a brief sexual encounter after one of the singer’s concerts last fall in a backstage bathroom at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

Justin has said he’s never met Miss Yeater and has denied allegations that he fathered her 3-month-old child.

The singer was in London on Monday where Bieber fever raged Monday, as the pop star switched on the Christmas lights at the city’s two biggest shopping malls.

Justin, dressed in a gray woolen hat and black leather jacket, said Monday that despite the ups and downs, he was grateful for his fans.

“I take it with a grain of salt. It’s been incredible, my fans are amazing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.

Philadelphia mural to honor hometown band: the Roots

As a teen, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter got busted for graffiti and was ordered by a judge to perform 150 hours of what he called “scrub time” - cleaning up such vandalism by painting murals.

More than 20 years later, it seems all is forgiven in his hometown. According to the Associated Press, Philadelphia is showing some brotherly love to Mr. Trotter and the Grammy-winning band he co-founded, the Roots, by creating a city-sanctioned mural in their honor.

“It’s just an amazing blessing and so ironic for there to be a legal mural of the Roots,” Mr. Trotter said to laughter at a news conference Monday. “I never imagined in my wildest dreams that something like this would take place.”

Mr. Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson formed the Roots in 1987 after meeting at Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. They are the house band for NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and their 13th album, “Undun,” drops on Dec. 6.

“They remind us … why we love art, why art is so important, why art is a lifeline, why art can be transformative and why we need it,” said Jane Golden, director of the city’s Mural Arts Program.

The mural site is still being finalized, but it is planned for a funky shopping area known as South Street. The neighborhood features some music joints where the Roots first began playing - and a now-defunct restaurant where Mr. Trotter noted he used to wash dishes.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who attended the announcement, said the band is among those on his digital music player and deserves this “long overdue” recognition.

“These guys are heroes because they took their childhood love of music and developed [into] … respected and talented and innovative professionals,” Mr. Nutter said.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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