Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host over homophobic tweets
Rights group contacted academy, ABC and Hart's management over 'anti-LGBTQ rhetoric'
Just two days after being named host of the Academy Awards, Kevin Hart stepped down following an outcry over past homophobic tweets by the comedian.
Capping a swift and dramatic fallout, Hart wrote on Twitter early Friday morning that he was withdrawing as Oscars host because he didn't want to be a distraction. "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past," wrote Hart.
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.—@KevinHart4real
I'm sorry that I hurt people.. 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.—@KevinHart4real
Hart, who is in Australia for a comedy tour, also tweeted Friday morning: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr."
Earlier Thursday evening, the comedian had refused to apologize 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: apologize 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."
The film academy didn't respond to messages Thursday evening.
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 since-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.'"
In an earlier post Thursday, 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, who added, in all-caps: "I love everybody."
LGBTQ jokes part of stand-up routine
Hart's attitudes about homosexuality were also a well-known part of his standup 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 LGBTQ rights, said Thursday that it reached out to Oscars broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Hart's management to "discuss Kevin's anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record."
Comedian and actor Billy Eichner said "a simple, authentic apology showing any bit of understanding or remorse would have been so simple."
This is not good. A simple, authentic apology showing any bit of understanding or remorse would have been so simple. Like I tweeted a few weeks ago, Hollywood still has a real problem with gay men. On the surface it may not look like it. Underneath, it’s far more complicated. <a href="https://t.co/A64LsOjVc2">https://t.co/A64LsOjVc2</a>—@billyeichner
It's not the first time an Oscars host has been derailed by anti-LGBTQ remarks.
Ahead of 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 soon after exited, as well.
That year, a tried-and-true Oscars veteran — Billy Crystal — jumped in to save the show, hosting for his eighth time. This time, speculation has already been rampant that few in Hollywood want the gig, for which few win glowing reviews.
The film academy moved up this year's ceremony to Feb. 24, giving producers little time to find a replacement.