On Wednesday afternoon comedian Kevin Hart was announced as the host for the 91st annual Academy Awards. Only a day later, he announced he was stepping down from the role after being given an ultimatum by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to apologize for a number of anti-gay tweets and other noticeably offensive comments he’d made during stand-up routines nearly a decade ago.
The 39-year-old comedian/actor addressed the fact that many of his older tweets were being deleted throughout the day on Thursday via an Instagram video. “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, grow, 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.”
“I chose to pass on the apology,” Hart continued. “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.”
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.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” Hart said. “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. 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 and appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
The Academy has not made a statement regarding Hart’s abdication of the role at this time nor have they announced a replacement.