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OTRC: Eddie Murphy exits role as host of the 84th Academy Awards in 2012

Eddie Murphy appears in a scene from the film, 'Meet Dave.' (Twentieth Century Fox)

Eddie Murphy has stepped down from his role as the host of the 84th annual Academy Awards, according to a statement from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released on Wednesday, November 9.

The news comes a day after director Brett Ratner exited the role as the producer for the award ceremony after stirring controversy for using a gay slur during a recent screening of his film 'Tower Heist' and discussing his sex life in media interviews.

"I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well," Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com.

"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," Murphy said in a statement. "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."

Ratner, who directed Murphy in "Tower Heist," stepped down on Tuesday after releasing a statement to the entertainment industry explaining why left the position.

"Over the last few days, I've gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances," Ratner said in his statement, which was obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com. "As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast."

He added, "Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represent."

Ranter initially apologized on Monday, November 7, for using a gay slur at a question and answer session at a screening "Tower Heist" when he used a term to describe gay men in response to a question asked at a screening. The director has also talked about his sex life in an interview with Howard Stern earlier this week.

At the time, Sherak said Ratner's remarks were "inappropriate" but added that the Academy was not going to remove him from his Oscar-producing position.

"The bottom line is, this won't and can't happen again. It will not happen again," Sherak said. "The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart."

Herndon Graddick, the senior director of programs for the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called for Ratner and the Academy to do more.

"The Academy and Hollywood need to send a clear message that such slurs, used even once, have no place in mainstream popular culture or at the helm of the industry that helps create it," Graddick told the Associated Press.

"Tower Heist" opened on November 4 and finished in second place at the weekend box office with $25.1 million.

It would have been the first time Murphy hosted the awards ceremony. Last year, Anne Hathaway and James Franco had hosting duties.

The awards ceremony will air on Sunday, February 26, 2012 on ABC, OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company. It will be Murphy's first time hosting the awards ceremony.

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