Oscars host Hart stands down over homophobic comments
The comedian Kevin Hart has announced he is stepping down as host of next year’s Oscars ceremony following an outcry over perceived homophobic comments and tweets.
Hart posted an apology to the LGBTQ community on Twitter yesterday for his past “insensitive words” and confirmed he would not take on the gig, so as not to be a “distraction”.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” wrote Hart, who as well as being a standup comedian is the star of films including Ride Along and Jumanji.
“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.”
Just hours earlier, Hart, who is currently in Australia, posted a video to Instagram saying he had received a call from the Academy telling him to apologise or he would be removed as host.
In the video, Hart said he would not apologise. “I passed on the apology. The reason I chose to pass is because I’ve addressed this several times, this is not the first time this has come up… 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 space in my life.”
It was announced on Tuesday that Hart would host the Oscars ceremony in February 2019, which is considered one of the most prestigious but difficult jobs in showbusiness. “I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time,” Hart wrote on his Instagram page.
Hart would have been one of a few black Oscar hosts in the event’s history, after Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Pryor and Sammy Davis Jr.
However, the choice quickly prompted a backlash after a significant number of Hart’s tweets in which he used homophobic slurs were reposted on Twitter. A video from a 2010 standup special in which Hart delivered an extended joke based on the fear his young son would be gay also resurfaced.
Kevin Hart would have joined a small club of black hosts that includes Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg