Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscars 2019 Host Amid Criticism Over Homophobic Tweets

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Actor-comedian Kevin Hart announced on Twitter that he has withdrawn as the host of the 2019 Oscars following the emergence of homophobic tweets.

"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's," Hart posted on Twitter Thursday night, two days after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced he would host the 91st annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

"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," he continued.

Hart, who was in Sydney, Australia for a show, originally refused to apologize for his comments. The academy then demanded that he apologize or have his hosting duties revoked, Variety reported.

"I'm sorry that I hurt people," Hart said in a second tweet. "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."

Past Twitter posts emerged where he used words like "homo" and "gay," according to E! News. The since-deleted tweets date back to 2011.

An interview Hart gave to Rolling Stone in 2015 also resurfaced. "Keep in mind, I'm not homophobic ... Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will," he said.

GLAAD, the media-monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media, told USA Today on Thursday that it had contacted the academy to discuss Hart hosting the Oscars.

Hart had been steadfast in not apologizing hours before his announcement on Twitter.

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"If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I'm almost 40 years old and I'm in love with the man that I am becoming," Hart wrote in a caption of a video. "You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love....Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive."

Hart had been announced to succeed Jimmy Kimmel, who served as host for the cermonies that awards excellence in film in 2017 and 2018.

"For years I have been asked if I would ever host the Oscars and my answer was always the same," Hart posted Tuesday on Instagram alongside an image of an Oscar statuette. "I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it's supposed to."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same...I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time....To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time....I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one. I appreciate the @TheAcademy for the opportunity ....now it’s time to rise to the occasion #Oscars

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

"I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time," he continued. "I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one."

Eddie Murphy, in 2011, announced he would not host the 2012 Academy Awards one day after his Tower Heist director Brett Ratner resigned as the ceremony's producer over an anti-gay remark he made.

By Allen Cone

Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.

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