Kevin Hart announced on Twitter early today that he was stepping down from hosting this year’s Oscars ceremony after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked him to apologize for a number of his old tweets that used homophobic language, which he initially refused to do.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” Hart tweeted. “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.”
Earlier in the evening, he posted an Instagram video in which he refused to apologize for the tweets.
Some quick background: This week it was announced that Hart would host the 91st Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24 — so naturally his Twitter account found itself under the microscope. Anyone wanting to disqualify Hart, at least in the court of public opinion, had a cornucopia of homophobic tweets to choose from.
Several of those tweets began surfacing shortly afterward. Around the same time, it appears that some of them were deleted.
“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,’ “ read a 2011 tweet that Hart deleted this week, according to BuzzFeed News.
Several other tweets using various homophobic slurs remain on Hart’s account, including one asking “why does (Damien Dante Wayans’s) profile pic look like a gay bill board for AIDS,” with this strange brag tacked on at the end: “Booom, I’m on fire tonight.”
In another that remained online as of publication time, Hart says, “Lmao @ all of the woman asking me where the pic is, I’m not passing along a pic of a naked man!!! That would make me gay by association.”
In a video posted to Instagram Thursday night, Hart boldly announced that he refused to apologize — even though the Academy requested one of him.
“So I just got a call from the Academy, and that call basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move and find another host,’” he says in the video. “They’re talking about the tweets from 2009, 2010.”
At least one of these tweets was from 2011.
“I chose to pass, I passed on the apology,” he continues. “The reason I chose to pass 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 vs. who I was then. I’ve done it. 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 space in my life.”