LOS ANGELES – American actor-comedian Kevin Hart stepped down on Thursday as the host of the Oscars, following a controversy over a set of old homophobic tweets.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” he said.
“I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazingly talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” the actor tweeted on Thursday.
Hart had announced on Tuesday that he would be hosting the show in February.
“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,” he added in another tweet.
Hart’s decision came after his homophobic tweets from 2009-2011 resurfaced on social media.
In one of the tweets, the actor said he would prevent his son from playing with dolls since “that’s gay.”
The actor’s first response to the controversy came through two videos on Instagram, in which he said the world was becoming “beyond crazy.”
“Guys, I’m almost 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,” the actor said in the first video.
In the second video, the actor said he had received a call from the Academy, which organizes the Oscars, asking him to apologize for his old comments or step down as a host.
“The reason why I passed is I’ve addressed this several times... I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then (...) I’m not going to continue to go back,” he said.
“The same energy that went into finding those old tweets could be the same energy put into finding the response to the questions that have been asked year after year after year,” he said in the video, posted hours before he announced his decision on Twitter.
“We feed on Internet trolls and we reward them. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to stand my ground,” he added.