Kevin Hart early Friday morning said he’s pulling out as host of the Academy Awards after he came under fire for old homophobic tweets and jokes that were recently resurfaced by people on social media.
“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,” he tweeted. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
The move came after Variety reported that he said he had been given an ultimatum by the motion picture academy to apologize for statements he made years ago that used hurtful and homophobic terms to describe gay men or he would be replaced.
Earlier in the evening, he posted an Instagram video in which he refused to apologize for the tweets.
Some quick background: This week it was announced that the Actor and Comedian, Kevin Hart would host the 91st Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24 — so naturally his Twitter account found itself under the microscope. Anyone wanting to disqualify Hart, at least in the court of public opinion, had a cornucopia of homophobic tweets to choose from.
Several of those tweets began surfacing shortly afterward. Around the same time, it appears that some of them were deleted.
In a video posted to Instagram Thursday night, Hart boldly announced that he refused to apologize — even though the Academy requested one of him.
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“So I just got a call from the Academyb, and that call basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move and find another host,’” he says in the video. “They’re talking about the tweets from 2009, 2010.”
“I chose to pass, I passed on the apology,” he continues. “The reason I chose to pass 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 vs. who I was then. I’ve done it. 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 space in my life.”
“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,” he adds.
“We feed Internet trolls and reward them. I’m not going to do it, man. I’m going to be me. I’m going to stay on my grind,” Hart concluded. “Regardless, Academy, I’m thankful and appreciative of the opportunity. If it goes away, no harm no foul.”