Kevin Hart is out as host of the Oscars in the wake of an escalating backlash involving the actor/comedian’s homophobic social-media history.
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“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s [sic] … because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” the actor and comedian said on Twitter late Thursday night. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
Hart’s announcement came barely an hour after he posted an Instagram video in which he candidly shared, “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 chose to pass. I passed on the apology.”
“I’m thankful and I’m appreciative of the opportunity [to host],” he said to the Academy at the end of the video. “If it goes away, no harm, no foul.”
Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement that Hart had been tapped to host the 91st Academy Awards (to be held Feb. 24, 2019), his homophobic twitter past came under new scrutiny. On Thursday, Buzzfeed reported that Hart had begun deleting some of his more offensive tweets, including this one from 2011: “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.’”