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’.
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Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. 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. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you….Have a beautiful day
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.
‘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.
‘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.’Follow @nydjlive