Comedian, and actor, Kevin Hart steps down from hosting the Oscars this year for comments that he made nearly ten years ago. Hart had excitedly announced that he would be hosting the upcoming 91st annual Academy Awards on Tuesday, but has now withdrawn from the gig because of “insensitive comments” he made in 2009 and 2010, Reuters reports.
Hart subsequently resigned when he was given an ultimatum by the Academy Awards where he would be forced to apologize for the decade-old content.
Hart initially refused and chose to give up the hosting gig instead. The comedian later gave an apology over Twitter amid the backlash.
From the report:
Comedian Kevin Hart stepped down on Thursday from hosting the 2019 Oscar ceremony after “insensitive words” about gays he tweeted in the past resurfaced online.
In one of the old tweets, Hart described an actor’s picture as a “gay billboard for AIDS”. In another he said if his son were playing with a doll’s house, he would break it over his head and tell him to stop being gay.
Chad Griffin, the president of the Washington DC-based LGBTQ advocacy group, The Human Rights Campaign, responded to Hart on Twitter late Thursday.
“You have a rare opportunity to take responsibility, teach people in this moment, & send a message to LBGTQ youth that they matter & deserve dignity & respect,” Griffin wrote.
In the days between accepting the gig and the subsequent controversy, Hart described hosting the event as “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars,” he added in an Instagram post.
The Academy shared in the enthusiasm, adding: “Welcome to the family.”
Here’s more, from Reason:
In an Instagram video, Hart claimed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had issued an ultimatum: apologize, or lose the gig. Hart initially refused to revisit the issue, which he claimed he had addressed several times in the past.
Hart also criticized those that went looking for such tweets in the first place.
“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago,’” Hart said in a video uploaded to Instagram. “Guys, I’m nearly 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 the past, do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”
“I chose to pass on the apology,” he continued. “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 same energy that went into finding those old tweets could be the same energy put into finding the response to the questions that have been asked years after years after years,” he contended.
In the Instagram video, Hart said that the culture has succumbed to rewarding “internet trolls” by stirring controversy when they find old content.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” Hart said on Twitter. “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,” Hart added in another tweet. “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.”
And, “I know who I am & so do the people closest to me.”
“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.,” Hart added on Friday morning.
Some people online criticized Hart’s decision to withdraw as the host, Fox News reports: