Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host after outcry over old tweets – AOL

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.

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Capping a swift and dramatic fallout, Hart wrote on Twitter just after midnight 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 stepped aside just about an hour after refusing 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”.

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

The film academy didn’t respond to messages Thursday evening.

Hart has since deleted some of the anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011. But they had already been screen-captured and been shared online. In 2011, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “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.”

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.”

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NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 05: Kevin Hart promotes his new book, ‘I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons’ at Barnes & Noble Union Square on June 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 05: Actors Kevin Hart and Kate Mara pose for a photo at the SiriusXM Studios on June 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 04: Kevin Hart speaks during the ‘ Kevin Hart LiveQ and A at BookCon 2017 at Javits Center on June 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 04: Kevin Hart attends a meet and greet during the BookCon 2017 at Javits Center on June 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 02: Comedian Kevin Hart performs on the Colossal Stage during the 2017 Colossal Clusterfest at Civic Center Plaza and The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on June 2, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 1: Jay-Z and Kevin Hart are seen at the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on June 1, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: GAME NIGHT – Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night special edition episodes air in primetime every night of the NBA Finals. The guest for Thursday, June 1 included Kevin Hart (‘Captain Underpants’). (Randy Holmes via Getty Images)
KEVIN HART

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: GAME NIGHT – Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night special edition episodes air in primetime every night of the NBA Finals. The guest for Thursday, June 1 included Kevin Hart (‘Captain Underpants’). (Randy Holmes via Getty Images)
KEVIN HART, JIMMY KIMMEL

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 23: Honoree actor/comedian Kevin Hart receives the Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence during the 32nd Annual Arts & Business Council Awards Celebration at Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 23, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 21: Actor Ed Helms (L) and actor/comedian Kevin Hart present an award during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

WESTWOOD, CA – MAY 21: Actor Kevin Hart arrives at the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ at the Regency Village Theatre on May 21, 2017 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

WESTWOOD, CA – MAY 21: Actor Kevin Hart and his son Hendrix Hart arrive at the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ at the Regency Village Theatre on May 21, 2017 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 08: Kevin Hart seen out shopping in the Diamond District in Manhattan on May 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 30: Actor/comedian Kevin Hart arrives at the Rehab Beach Club pool party grand opening weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 18: Kevin Hart attends Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 04: Actor/comedian Kevin Hart is seen leaving the ‘Untouchable’ Film wrap party at Stotesbury Mansion on April 4, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 20: Actor/comedian Kevin Hart is seen arriving to a surprise appearance at Punch Line Philly Comedy club to test out new material for his upcoming comedy tour on March 20, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 18: Ron ‘Boss’ Everline and Kevin Hart attend the ‘Move with Hart’ training sessions at Rumble Boxing on March 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 11: Actor Kevin Hart backstage at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/KCA2017/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 11: (L-R) Heaven Hart, actor Kevin Hart and Hendrix Hart at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 04: Eniko Parrish and Kevin Hart attend Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on February 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 01: Actor/comedian Kevin Hart is seen on set of ‘The Untouchables’ on February 1, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 27: Recording artist Meek Mill and comedian Kevin Hart look on during the game between the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on January 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Kevin Hart poses for a portrait at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images Portrait)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 18: (L-R) Eniko Parrish, actor Kevin Hart, TV personality Ellen DeGeneres, and actress Portia de Rossi attend the People’s Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 16: Kevin Hart (R) and Eniko Parrish attend a basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

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Hart’s attitudes about homosexuality were also a well-known part of his stand-up act. In the 2010 special “Seriously Funny,” he said “one of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay.

“Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, do what you want to do, but me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will,” Hart said.

GLAAD, the advocacy group for LGBTQ rights, said Thursday that it reached out to Oscars broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Hart’s management to “discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record.”

Comedian and actor Billy Eichner said “a simple, authentic apology showing any bit of understanding or remorse would have been so simple”.

It’s not the first time an Oscars host has been derailed by anti-gay remarks. Ahead of the 2012 Academy Awards, producer Brett Ratner, who had been paired with host Eddie Murphy, resigned days after using a gay slur at a film screening. Murphy soon after exited, as well.

That year, a tried-and-true Oscars veteran — Billy Crystal — jumped in to save the show, hosting for his eighth time. This time, speculation has already been rampant that few in Hollywood want the gig, for which few win glowing reviews.

The film academy moved up this year’s ceremony to Feb. 24, giving producers little time to find a replacement.

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