Two days after he was selected to host the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony, comedian and actor Kevin Hart announced that he was stepping down from the position on Friday. The move came in the wake of a growing controversy over Hart’s years-old homophobic tweets that had resurfaced on social media.
In a tweet on Friday, Hart apologised to the LGBTQ community for his earlier posts and said that he was stepping down because he did not want to be a “distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” The Oscars 2019 will be held on February 25 in Los Angeles, California. The Academy is yet to respond to Hart’s decision to step down.
Just hours before these tweets, Hart, in an Instagram video, revealed that the Academy had given him an ultimatum to apologise for his old posts, but he would not pay heed. “I chose to pass on the apology,” he said in the video. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times...I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then...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.”
Shortly after he was made the host for the ceremony, Hart’s offensive tweets from 2009-’11 started drawing attention on Twitter. Amid the growing criticism, Hart posted an Instagram video saying, “Guys, I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as people get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past, than do you. I’m the wrong guy.” Hart’s refusal to apologise spurred further backlash.