Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscar Host Amid Backlash Over Anti-LGBTQ Tweets
One day after he was announced as the master of ceremonies at this year's Oscars, the comedian has resigned from the position amid backlash over anti-gay tweets and comments her made close to a decade ago. Hart, 39, deleted many of the tweets on Thursday, addressing the controversy and his resignation on Instagram.
"My team calls me, 'Oh my God, Kevin, everyone's upset by tweets you did years ago," he said in the video. "Guys, I'm nearly 40 years old. If you don't believe that people change, grown, evolve as they get older, I don't know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify the past, do you. I'm the wrong guy, man."
He declined to apologize for the tweets, telling followers that he previously addressed this same issue more than once in the past. Hart said he would not again say he was in the wrong, but did say that he's "moved on" from his old views.
"I chose to pass on the apology," he said. "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 them. 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."
Less than two hours after the video was posted, Kevin tweeted that he chose to resign from hosting the Academy Awards. He said he did not want to distract from the accolades of the nominees and, despite his previous statement, did apologize to the LGBTQ community.
"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," Hart tweeted.
He went on to say that he was sorry he "hurt people," adding that he is continually "evolving" and hopes to maintain that trajectory. He sent "love & appreciation to the Academy," and said he hopes to one day be asked to host again.
The Academy must now find someone to fill his shoes, a feat Variety has suggested won't be easy. The outlet noted that it appeared, based on how late in the game they announced Hart as the host, that no one was interested in the position. Sources said they had a more difficult time filling the role this year than they had in the past.