There's stunning news out of Hollywood. Eddie Murphy is dropping out as host of the Oscars®.
The legendary actor bailed out on the job less than 24 hours after Brett Ratner, Murphy's close friend and director of his new hit film Tower Heist, dropped out as producer of the show after triggering a firestorm of controversy with a gay slur.
Murphy's decision is a statement of solidarity with Ratner. He says he understands the decision to dump Ratner. Murphy also expressed regret at losing the hosting role.
Murphy said in a statement: "I was truly looking forward to being 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."
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak said in a statement: "I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well."
Just two weeks ago, Murphy told INSIDE EDITION how much he was looking forward to hosting the Oscars®.
"I'm pretty excited," said Murphy.
The sudden loss of Murphy was a hot topic on The Talk where Julie Chen said, "It's such a shame."
Ratner used a gay slur during a question and answer at a recent screening of Tower Heist. He also went on The Howard Stern Show and talked at length about his sex life. The reaction in Hollywood was fast and Ratner was forced to resign.
In a statement Ratner said: "I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience."