The 2019 Oscars are now looking for a second last-minute host to accept an offer to lead the biggest night in film next year. Kevin Hart announced late Thursday night that he would be stepping down as host of the award show following outrage over insensitive tweets that surfaced earlier in the week.
Hart, the actor and comedian who had agreed to host the Oscars after it was revealed the Academy was struggling to find a host for the event, announced he would not host after all. Hours after that initial story circulated, Hart was reportedly in talks to and then agreed to accept the gig, which had become increasingly tougher to fill in recent years.
But soon after he accepted the gig, tweets containing offensive language and homophobic jokes were shared on social media. Reports then spread online that Hart was deleting tweets that were viewed as insensitive to the LGBTQ+ community. In light of that news, Hart says, he will not host the awards. He tweeted just after midnight on the east coast explaining his decision and offering an apology to those he offended.
“I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” Hart tweeted. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
Hart was seen as the Academy’s savior on Tuesday night when it was reported that he had accepted the role as host. Saying he was “blown away” by what he phrased as the “opportunity of a lifetime” to host, outrage grew later in the week when some people searched for less-than-flattering Tweets from his past revealing homophobic language. Those tweets were disappearing later in the day, drawing further attention to the matter.
The comedian’s initial response came later on Thursday in an Instagram video where Hart revealed that the Academy had issued an ultimatum to him that he delete the tweets or that he could not host.
As Variety notes, he at first did not want to apologize for the tweets.
“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 on and find another host.’ I’m talking about the tweets from 2009 and 2010,” the 39-year-old comedian said. “I chose to pass on the apology. 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. 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.”