Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the upcoming Academy Awards, according to a statement released today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The news comes just a day after producer Brett Ratner was shamed into leaving the show over his use of a gay slur during a screening of Tower Heist (which Ratner directed and which co-stars Murphy).

The New York Daily News reports:

"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 part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure the new production team and host will do an equally great job."

Ratner and Murphy were viewed as a chance to liven up the Academy Awards ceremony, which is annually the most watched entertainment special of the year.

For Murphy, "Tower Heist" and the hosting gig were considered huge steps in the reemergence of his Hollywood career.

Tuesday, as the furor grew over his gay slur, Ratner met with Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and agreed to create a series of public discussions on the use of anti-gay jokes and slurs in films and on TV.


The Academy Awards are set for Feb. 26, 2012.

Who would you like to see host in Murphy's place?

Read more at the Daily News.

In other news: LaVar Arrington on Penn State Sex Scandal.