American director Brett Ratner said yesterday that he was sorry for using a gay slur during a press conference to promote his latest film.

Ratner responded to a question about his procedure on film sets saying: “Rehearsal is for fags”.

The 42-year-old, who has agreed to produce next year’s Academy Awards, issued a statement apologising “for any offence my remarks caused”.

Ratner used the term in response to a question asked at a screening of his latest film, “Tower Heist.”

Ratner said in his statement: “It was a dumb way of expressing myself.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body.

“But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.”

Tom Sherak, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, called the remarks “inappropriate”, but said Ratner is currently still on track to produce the Oscars ceremony.

He said: “The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again.

“The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart. … This is about integrity and honouring the Academy Awards, but we all make mistakes and I believe he didn’t mean it.

Herndon Graddick, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s Senior Director of Programs, called the academy’s response “insufficient.”

He said: “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.”

“Tower Heist” stars Eddie Murphy, who will be hosting the 84th Academy Awards in February.