Brett Ratner stood on the stage and ran down the list of things he was called in the fall of 2011.
"Homophobe. Bigot. Gay-basher. Ignorant frat boy. Fat, Jewish pig," the Rush Hour director rattled off. "I was called all of these names when I foolishly used a gay slur in a misguided attempt to be funny during an interview. Do I believe what I was called to be true? Aside from the Jewish and fat part? No, absolutely not. But I learned a valuable lesson: A word can matter, whether it's said with malice or a joke."
Ratner was on the stage at the GLAAD awards in Manhattan a year and a half after he used the word "fag" in a question-and-answer-session for his film, Tower Heist. Outrage quickly built, and he resigned from producing the 2012 Oscars soon after. Ever since, he has worked to rehab his image, including making several PSAs for GLAAD.
He was given the Ally Award on Saturday night and told the audience he had learned a valuable lesson.
"Being insulted for using the word cannot compare to the experience of any young gay man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments," Ratner said in his brief speech.
Prior to the ceremony, GLAAD president Herndon Graddick, who later joined Ratner onstage, praised the director for the work he has done.
"He’s gone further than anyone I’ve ever seen at showing how he really feels about the LGBT community," Graddick told The Hollywood Reporter. "He was really committed to make a difference, not just with us but with GLSEN; he held a fundraiser at his home to elect the first lesbian mayor of New York [Christine Quinn]. I believe he was never a homophobe, and I value all of his contributions and consider him a friend."