In a series of tweets Hart said sorry for his anti-gay comments, explaining he wouldn’t be hosting the Academy awards to avoid being a “distraction” on the night.
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.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real)
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.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real)
Just an hour earlier in a video posted to Instagram Hart, who in Sydney for a series of shows, refused to say sorry despite receiving an ultimatum from Oscars bosses.
“I just got a call from the Academy and that call basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move on and find another host.’ I’m talking about the tweets from 2009 and 2010,” he said.
“I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were.
“I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. 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 place in my life.”
The announcement of Hart as this year’s Oscars host earlier this week sparked an angry backlash after homophobic comments from the comedian resurfaced online.
After Hart was announced as next year’s Oscars host the comedian began deleting anti-gay posts from his Twitter, Buzzfeed reported.
But several of the tweets were screenshot by Twitter users like journalist Benjamin Lee and spread online, sparking an angry reaction.
I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/ZbYG6SI3Xm— Benjamin Lee (@benfraserlee)
After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted ‘fag,’ ‘homo,’ or ‘gay.’ It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary)
I didn’t like him before, and know I feel disgusted (by the way I don’t finds him that Funny).— Eyad (@Eyadxoxo)
— ᴶᵃⁿᵃ 🚴🏻♀️ (@__j4na)
Wow. That’s really unacceptable— GA Confidential (@ConfidentialGa)
Before i saw this i just thought ‘come on it cant be that bad’ i was wrong, this isnt a one off— James stephens (@swanage89)
Many of us have jokes/tweets we regret. I’m ok with tasteless jokes, depending on context. What bothers me about these is you can tell its not just a joke-there’s real truth, anger & fear behind these. I hope Kevin’s thinking has evolved since 2011. 🌈 https://t.co/U1YgnCyByt— billy eichner (@billyeichner)
The Guardian also reported that Hart had made similar anti-gay comments in his comedy routines, with the performer telling an audience in 2010: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay”.
Hart soon responded to the controversy in a video posted to Instagram but didn’t apologise for the tweets.
“The team calls me, ‘oh my god Kevin the world is upset about tweets you did years ago,’ oh my god,” Hart said, rubbing his eyes in frustration.
View this post on Instagram
Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you….Have a beautiful day
A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on
“Guys, I’m almost 40 years old, if you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.
“If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify their past then do you, I’m the wrong guy man. I’m in a great place, a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity. If you’re not doing that, get out of my page.”
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It’s not the first time the Oscars have come under fire over its show entertainment, with Brett Ratner resigning from his role as the ceremony’s producer in 2011.
The Hollywood producer faced a backlash after a video went viral of him saying “rehearsing is for fags” while promoting his 2011 film Tower Heist.