Os­cars’ host stands down over ‘of­fen­sive, ho­mo­pho­bic’ Tweets

The Scotsman - - Around Scotland - By KEIRAN SOUTH­ERN

Co­me­dian Billy Eichner has said “toxic mas­culin­ity is real” after Kevin Hart stepped down as host of the 2019 Academy Awards amid con­tro­versy over al­leged ho­mo­pho­bic tweets he posted nearly a decade ago.

The US co­me­dian and ac­tor was named as the host of the Os­cars on Tues­day, de­scrib­ing the role as “the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time”, but shortly after his ap­point­ment tweets resur­faced, orig­i­nally posted be­tween 2009 and 2011, which con­tained of­fen­sive lan­guage to­wards the LGBT com­mu­nity.

Amid a grow­ing con­tro­versy and after re­fus­ing the Academy’s re­quest to apol­o­gise, Hart an­nounced on Twit­ter he was step­ping aside.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Eichner, star of Billy On The Street and Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, said: “I’ve been around in this busi­ness for a minute. As one of very few openly gay men in com­edy who’s for­tu­nate enough to work as much as I do, I will AL­WAYS fight for my LGBTQ com­mu­nity to get the re­spect we de­serve. AL­WAYS.”

He added: “I’m no saint. We just wanted a lit­tle un­der­stand­ing, a lit­tle ex­pla­na­tion.

“Apolo­gies are tough – they leave you vul­ner­a­ble. Toxic mas­culin­ity is real. I deal with it in my own way too. So on that note, I ap­pre­ci­ate @ Kev­in­hart4real apol­o­giz­ing. And apol­ogy ac­cepted. That’s all.”

He joked he would not rest un­til the Os­cars were hosted by the cast of com­ing-out movie Love Si­mon, the ghost of gay rights ac­tivist Har­vey Milk and the “en­tire ex­ec­u­tive board of Planned Par­ent­hood”.

How­ever, Ricky Ger­vais ap­peared to think Hart was wrong to say sorry, writ­ing on Twit­ter: “The only time I’m of­fended by a co­me­dian is when they apol­o­gise.”

In a sec­ond tweet, he ad­dressed the Academy us­ing a swear word and added: “Let me host your show, and I prom­ise I won’t of­fend any­one. Not even Mel Gib­son, who you nom­i­nated last year.”

Hours be­fore an­nounc­ing his de­ci­sion to step down, Hart shared two videos to In­sta­gram. In the first one he was dis­mis­sive of the con­tro­versy, say­ing he had had time to “grow” in the years since shar­ing the of­fen­sive tweets and urged peo­ple to “stop look­ing for rea­sons to be neg­a­tive”.

In an ap­par­ent re­sponse to this video, ac­tress Jamie Lee Cur­tis tweeted: “Ho­mo­pho­bia is not pos­i­tiv­ity.”

In an­other In­sta­gram video sev­eral hours later, he re­vealed the Academy had been in touch ask­ing him to say sorry, but he re­fused as he has al­ready ad­dressed it.

PIC­TURE: KEVIN WIN­TER/GETTY IM­AGES

Co­me­dian Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 2019 Os­cars

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