Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has stepped down as the host of the 91st Academy Awards, stating he doesn’t want the controversy caused by resurfaced homophobic jokes and tweets to serve as a ‘distraction’ from the event.
Hart was announced as the Oscars host on Tuesday (December 4) but a fast-moving negative online response to his appointment put pressure on the comedian to apologise, with Hart choosing to take the extra step by resigning from the role.
Hart announced the news on twitter, stating that he doesn’t want to be a “distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.”
In a follow-up tweet, Hart added: “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.”
The comedian and actor apologised to the LGBTQ+ community for the insensitive words from his past.
In an earlier Instagram post, he spoke out against his critics, telling them to “stop searching for reasons to be angry.”
He said: “I am truly happy, people. There is nothing you can do to change that… Nothing. That being said, if you want to search my history or past and anger yourself with what you find, that is fine with me. “
Despite the fact the controversy originated on twitter, there’s been a groundswell of support on the platform for Hart following the announcement, with many fans disappointed with the news.
While another tweeted:
The Academy will now reach out to new hosts, ahead of the ceremony’s broadcast on 25 February, 2019.