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Academy Awards

Comedian Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host after outcry over old ‘homophobic’ tweets

  • Remarks posted on social media seven years ago outraged a gay rights group, which complained to the academy, broadcaster and star’s manager
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 3:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 3:05pm

Just two days after being named host of the Academy Awards, Kevin Hart stepped down following complaints about some of the comedian’s past tweets.

Capping a swift and dramatic fallout, Hart wrote on Twitter on Friday that he was withdrawing as Oscars host because he did not want to be a distraction.

“I sincerely apologise to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” wrote Hart.

Hart stepped aside about an hour after refusing to apologise for tweets that resurfaced after he was announced as Oscars host on Tuesday. In a video on Instagram, 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,” Hart said. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times.”

Hart has since deleted some of the anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011. But they had already been screen-captured and been shared online. In 2011, he wrote in a now 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.”

If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve? I don’t know what to tell you
Kevin Hart

In an earlier post, 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 Hart, adding: “I love everybody.”

Hart’s attitude towards homosexuality was 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,” Hart said.

GLAAD, the advocacy group for gay rights, said on Thursday that it contacted Oscars broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Hart’s management to “discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record”.

It’s not the first time an Oscars host has been derailed by anti-gay remarks. Before 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 also quit.

That year, Oscars veteran Billy Crystal replaced Murphy.