Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host In Wake Of His Twitter Controversy

Photo: John Salangsang/REX/Shutterstock
Kevin Hart has stepped down as host for the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony, just days after announcing that he had landed the coveted Oscars gig.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the Night School actor revealed he did not want to be a "distraction" in the wake of criticism he received over recently uncovered tweets.
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars," he wrote on the social media platform. "This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past."
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He added:
"I'm sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."
Hart announced via Instagram that he had secured the hosting gig on Tuesday night. At the time, he wrote that "to be able to join the legendary list of hosts who have graced this stage is unbelievable," and that his mother is "smiling from ear to ear right now."
However, shortly after Hart announced that he would emcee the biggest night in Hollywood, Twitter users uncovered tweets the Jumanji star wrote which utilize homophobic slurs and express problematic viewpoints about the gay community. The tweets circulating are from 2009 to 2011.
Some also pointed out that these tweets are not the first time Hart expressed such views: In a stand-up routine from 2010, Hart jokes he is afraid of his own son becoming gay.
According to an Instagram video which Hart posted Thursday night, Hart was offered an opportunity by the Academy to apologize for his past comments. Per the video, Hart declined, telling fans in the Instagram story:
"The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed [my past comments] 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... The same energy that went into finding those old tweets, could be the same energy put into finding the response to the questions that have been asked years after years after years."
Refinery29 has reached out to Hart as well as the Oscars for comment.
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