Just two days after being named host of the Academy Awards, Kevin Hart has stepped down following an outcry over past homophobic tweets by the comedian.
- Many of Mr Hart’s anti-gay tweets date from 2009-2011
- Mr Hart refused to apologise because he had “addressed this several times”
- Gay advocacy groups and actors admonished Mr Hart’s homophobia and lack of remorse
Capping a swift fallout, Mr Hart wrote on Twitter that he was withdrawing as Oscars host because he did not want to be a distraction.
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” wrote Mr Hart.
Mr Hart stepped aside just about an hour after refusing to apologise for tweets that resurfaced after he was announced as Oscars host on Tuesday.
Kevin Hart Tweet: I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s
In a video on Instagram, Mr Hart said the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences gave him an ultimatum: apologise or “we’re going to have to move on and find another host”.
“I chose to pass on the apology,” Mr Hart said.
“The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times.”
Kevin Hart instagram video: I know who I am and so do the people closest to me
The film academy did not respond to messages on Thursday evening.
Mr Hart has since deleted some of the anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011.
But they had already been screen-captured and shared online.
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’.”
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Hart wrote on Instagram that critics should “stop being negative” about his earlier anti-gay remarks.
“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 Mr Hart. He added, in all-caps: “I love everybody.”
Mr Hart’s attitudes about homosexuality were also a well-known part of his stand-up act.
In the 2010 special “Seriously Funny,” he said: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay.”
“Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, do what you want to do, but me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will,” Mr Hart said.
GLAAD, the advocacy group for LGBTQ rights, had said on Thursday that it reached out to Oscars broadcaster the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Mr Hart’s management to “discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record”.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis wrote: “Homophobia is not positivity.”
Comedian and actor Billy Eichner said “a simple, authentic apology showing any bit of understanding or remorse would have been so simple”.
Billy Eichner tweet: this is not good
It is not the first time an Oscars host has been potentially derailed by anti-gay remarks.
Ahead of the 2012 Academy Awards, producer Brett Ratner, who had been paired with host Eddie Murphy, resigned days after using a gay slur at a film screening. Murphy soon after exited, as well.