Kevin Hart withdrew from hosting the Oscars on Friday, after homophobic tweets surfaced from 2011. Among the tweets, many now deleted, Hart said, “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’.”
The actor and comedian faced backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, and the academy reportedly asked Hart to apologize for the homophobic tweets, or they would find another host. On an Instagram post on Thursday, Hart said he wasn’t going to apologize, saying he didn’t want to contribute to “feeding the internet trolls.”
On Friday morning, Hart officially stepped down from the hosting position, and apologized for hurting anyone. 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 and appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
Later, he tweeted a Martin Luther King quote, saying, “The ultimate measure is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
It’s unlikely that the civil rights leader was referring to self-inflected controversy of the kind Hart is facing, and the tweet served to make it clear that Hart still considers himself victimized by public opinion, as his Instagram video implied.
Kevin Hart has been appointed to host the 2019 Oscars, described by The Hollywood Reporter as “the least wanted job in America.”
As a result, Hart is already under scrutiny for past homophobic remarks. Over the past week, the comedian took measures to delete old tweets that he obviously felt were in poor taste, or at least bad optics.
However, social media users and critics were already scanning Hart’s body of work and online presence to judge what values he would represent as the host of the 91st Academy Awards.