Past ho­mo­pho­bic tweets force Hart out of Os­cars

Toronto Star - - WORLD - TRACY BROWN LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES

LOS AN­GE­LES— Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 2019 Os­cars.

Af­ter he claimed he was pres­sured by the Acad­emy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences to apol­o­gize for past ho­mo­pho­bic com­ments, the co­me­dian an­nounced on Thurs­day night his de­ci­sion to step away from host­ing this year’s cer­e­mony.

“I have made the choice to step down from host­ing this year’s Os­cars,” Hart said on Twit­ter. “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 had pre­vi­ously re­vealed on In­sta­gram that the Acad­emy was de­mand­ing he apol­o­gize for tweets that had resur­faced af­ter it was an­nounced ear­lier this week that he would host the cer­e­mony.

Crit­ics pointed out that the co­me­dian had a his­tory of mak­ing ho­mo­pho­bic re­marks (which he re­port­edly started delet­ing af­ter the Os­cars an­nounce­ment).

“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,’ ” Hart said in a video posted on In­sta­gram. “I chose to pass. I passed on the apol­ogy.”

In that same post, Hart in­sisted that he had al­ready “ad­dressed this sev­eral times” and that he had “moved on.” He added that he was re­fus­ing to bow to any “in­ter­net trolls.”

Hart had urged peo­ple to “stop search­ing for rea­sons to be an­gry” in an even ear­lier post on Thurs­day.

“Our world is be­com­ing be­yond crazy. I’m not go­ing to let the crazi­ness frus­trate me or anger me es­pe­cially when I worked hard to get to the mental space that I’m at now,” Hart said in the ear­lier In­sta­gram video. “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.”

He added in the caption: “If you want to search my his­tory or past and anger your­selves with what you find that is fine with me.”

In one of his Thurs­day state­ments, Hart em­pha­sized how peo­ple “live” and “learn” and “grow” and “ma­ture” over the years rather than di­rectly ad­dress any of his past com­ments.

“I’m in a great place,” Hart said. “A great ma­ture place where all I do is spread pos­i­tiv­ity.”

AL­BERTO E. RO­DRIGUEZ GETTY IM­AGES FILE PHOTO FOR CINEMA­CON

Co­me­dian Kevin Hart was slated to host the 2019 Os­cars, but has stepped down af­ter old ho­mo­pho­bic com­ments on Twit­ter have resur­faced.

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