Os­cars host steps down over gay slurs

Sunday Star-Times - - World -

The or­gan­is­ers of the Os­cars are search­ing for a new host after the co­me­dian who had ac­cepted the job a few days ago an­nounced that he was step­ping down over ho­mo­pho­bic re­marks he had made on Twit­ter.

Kevin Hart de­cided to quit yes­ter­day after he re­ceived a phone call from the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences, ask­ing that he apol­o­gise for com­ments he made sev­eral years ago.

His dis­missal was lamented by gay and les­bian cam­paign group GLAAD, which said it had hoped that his ‘‘evolv­ing’’ mind­set might have be­come a ‘‘teach­able mo­ment’’ broad­cast to mil­lions.

The com­ments were found and high­lighted after Hart’s ap­point­ment as Os­cars host.

‘‘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’,’’ he said in one tweet from 2011 that has since been deleted. In oth­ers, he in­sulted his de­trac­tors as ‘‘fags’’.

Hart, who is tour­ing Aus­tralia, said the academy had told him to ‘‘apol­o­gise for your tweets of old or we are go­ing to find a new host’’.

He ini­tially said that he had apol­o­gised for the re­marks in the past and had since changed his think­ing. He seemed un­will­ing to of­fer an­other apol­ogy.

‘‘This has come up and I have spo­ken on it,’’ he said in a video on In­sta­gram. ‘‘I have said what the rights and wrongs were.’’

Hart ar­gued that the re­porters who had un­earthed the com­ments could have devoted the same time to find­ing his apolo­gies. He added: ‘‘I’m not go­ing to con­tinue to go back and dip into the days of old.’’

To apol­o­gise again would be to ‘‘feed the internet trolls and re­ward them’’, he said. ‘‘I’m not go­ing to do it, man. I’m go­ing to be me and I’m go­ing to stand my ground.’’

Hart later is­sued a state­ment on Twit­ter, an­nounc­ing that he was step­ping aside, and of­fer­ing a full apol­ogy.

Hart had cel­e­brated his ap­point­ment as host of the Os­cars as ‘‘the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time’’. He said one of his en­dur­ing ca­reer goals had been to join the list of en­ter­tain­ers who had walked the stage of the Dolby The­atre, where the Os­cars have been held since 2002. ‘‘I know my mom is smil­ing from ear to ear right now.’’

GLAAD pres­i­dent Sarah Kate El­lis said her group had been in con­tact with Hart’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, hop­ing that the story of his ref­or­ma­tion could be used to help the gay com­mu­nity.

‘‘I have said what the rights and wrongs were.’’ Kevin Hart

AP

Co­me­dian Kevin Hart said be­ing cho­sen as host of the Academy Awards was ‘‘the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time’’, but ho­mo­pho­bic re­marks he made on Twit­ter have come back to haunt him.

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