Hart quits as Os­cars host over anti-gay tweets

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Just two days af­ter be­ing named host of the Acad­emy Awards, Kevin Hart stepped down fol­low­ing an out­cry over past ho­mo­pho­bic tweets by the co­me­dian.

Cap­ping a swift and dra­matic fall­out, Hart wrote on Twit­ter early Fri­day that he was with­draw­ing as Os­cars host be­cause he didn’t want to be a dis­trac­tion.

“I sin­cerely apol­o­gize to the LGBTQ com­mu­nity for my in­sen­si­tive words from my past,” wrote Hart.

Hart, who is in Aus­tralia for a com­edy tour, also tweeted Fri­day morn­ing: “The ul­ti­mate mea­sure of a man is not where he stands in mo­ments of com­fort and con­ve­nience, but where he stands at times of chal­lenge and con­tro­versy. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Ear­lier Thurs­day evening, the co­me­dian had re­fused to apol­o­gize for tweets that resur­faced af­ter he was an­nounced as Os­cars host on Tues­day. In a video on In­sta­gram, Hart said the Acad­emy of Mo­tion Pic­tures Arts and Sci­ences gave him an ul­ti­ma­tum: Apol­o­gize or “we’re go­ing to have to move on and find an­other host.”

“I chose to pass on the apol­ogy,” Hart said. “The rea­son why I passed is be­cause I’ve ad­dressed this sev­eral times.”

The film acad­emy didn’t re­spond to mes­sages.

Hart has since deleted some of the anti­gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009 to 2011. But they had al­ready been screen­cap­tured and shared on­line. In an ear­lier post Thurs­day, Hart wrote on In­sta­gram that crit­ics should “stop be­ing neg­a­tive” about his ear­lier anti-gay re­marks.

“I’m al­most 40 years old. If you don’t be­lieve that peo­ple change, grow, evolve? I don’t know what to tell you,” said Hart, who added, in all-caps: “I love ev­ery­body.”

JOR­DAN STRAUSS Jor­dan Strauss/Invision/AP

Co­me­dian Kevin Hart is bow­ing out of host­ing the 91st Acad­emy Awards af­ter pub­lic out­rage over old anti-gay tweets reached a tip­ping point.

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