Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars amid backlash over homophobic tweets and comments dating back ten years ago.
The news comes just over 24 hours after it was announced Hart had been chosen to host the awards show. It was then old tweets and comments resurfaced from his stand-up routines and throughout Thursday, Hart deleted those tweets from his account.
Hart made an Instagram video, stating he was given an ultimatum by the Academy to either apologize or they will search for a new host. Late Thursday night, the comedian stepped down as host, signaling he’d refuse to apologize.
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. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
“I chose to pass on the apology,” Hart said in the video. “The reason why I passed 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 versus who I was then.”
Now the Academy must begin the search for a new host but they won’t have much time. The 2019 Oscars are set to air on February 24.