Popular US comedian and actor Kevin Hart has stepped down as the host of the 2019 Oscars amid a slew of backlash over years-old homophobic tweets that recently surfaced.
‘I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,’ the comedian tweeted Thursday night, just two days after being named host. ‘I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.’
His apology, however, has come too little too late after he revealed earlier in an Instagram video that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences had given him an ultimatum: apologize for the comments or they would seek a new host.
Hart responded to the ultimatum in the video asserting that he chose to ‘pass on the apology’ because he had ‘addressed this several times’.
Less than two hours later the 39-year-old changed his tune, issuing an apology to the LGBTQ community along with his resignation as Oscars host.
Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars Thursday night and apologized to the LGBTQ community after refusing to do so for years-old homophobic tweets that recently surfaced
The comedian announced he would step down and then apologized to the LGBTQ community for his ‘insensitive words’
His apology came too late, however, considering rejected the Academy’s ultimatum to apologize or they would seek a new host
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‘I just got a call from the Academy and that call basically said, ”Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move on and find another host.” I’m talking about the tweets from 2009 and 2010,” the 39-year-old said in the Instagram video, which he recorded in Australia where he’s currently on The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour.
In a 2010 stand-up routine, he said ‘one of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay’
‘I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were.
‘I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different place in my life.’
This came after tweets dated from 2009 to 2011 surfaced in which the comedian spewed blatant anti-gay rhetoric.
In 2011, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet: ‘Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ”stop that’s gay.”
The comedian has since deleted the tweets, but that wasn’t before screen captures began circulating online, gaining widespread criticism.
Earlier in the day, Hart responded to criticism in a way that further inflamed backlash just two days after he was named host of the upcoming Academy Awards.
He wrote on Instagram that critics should ‘stop being negative’. In an accompanying video, a shirtless Hart lounging in bed warily said he wasn’t going to ‘let the craziness frustrate me.’
‘I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve? I don’t know what to tell you,’ said Hart, who added, in all-caps: ‘I love everybody.’
His refusal to admit fault and apologize for the tweets sparked public outcry for the removal of his hosting gig.
GLAAD, the advocacy group for LGBTQ rights, said it had reached out to Oscars broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Hart’s management to ‘discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record.’