US Comedian and actor Kevin Hart announced Thursday night that he will no longer host the 2019 Oscars amid flack for past homophobic tweets.
Two days after announcing he had landed what he called a dream gig, Hart said that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had told him to choose between apologising for the tweets and losing the job. Hart said the tweets were from nearly a decade ago and that he has matured since then.
“I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times,” Hart, 39, said during a video posted to Instagram.
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Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you….Have a beautiful day
“I´ve said who I am now versus who I was then. 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 place in my life,” Hart said.
On Twitter, Hart apologised to the LGBTQ community for what he called “my insensitive words from my past.”
“I´m sorry that I hurt people,” he added. “I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
The controversy over the tweets began earlier this week following the announcement that the Night School actor would host the upcoming Academy Awards. Some of the tweets dating back years were deleted, but screenshots showed several homophobic posts.
After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “fag,” “homo,” or “gay.” It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 5, 2018
Earlier Thursday, Hart responded to the controversy on Instagram, telling people to “stop searching for reasons to be angry” over the tweets.
“Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry,” Hart wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption alongside a video of himself.
“You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE,” he added.
The Academy must now find a new host for the 91st Academy Awards in February.
The “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” star was to have hosted the glitzy event after talk show host Jimmy Kimmel held the gig for two consecutive years.
Whoever hosts it will face pressure to boost audience ratings for the annual show that will be held on February 24 in Hollywood and which had an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers last year, compared to 43 million in 2014.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has said that it was introducing a number of changes to improve viewership, including shortening the show to three hours and handing out some of the awards during commercial breaks.