Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host following controversy over homophobic tweets

The US comedian had previously told an audience that his "biggest fear" was his son coming out as gay

Kevin Hart, Getty

Kevin Hart has confirmed that he has stepped down as host for next year’s Academy Awards ceremony, following a backlash over his previous homophobic tweets and comments.

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The US comedian apologised to the LGBTQ community in a Twitter post on Friday, stating over a series of tweets that he didn’t want to become a “distraction” during the awards.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” he said.

“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.”

The statement is an abrupt U-turn for the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star, who earlier on Friday posted a video on Instagram revealing that the Academy has asked him to apologise or risk losing out on the hosting gig — before stating that he “pass[ed]” on the opportunity to apologise.

“I chose to pass, I passed on the apology. The reason I chose to pass is because I’ve addressed this several times, this is not the first time this has come up, I’ve addressed this,” he said. “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 space in my life.”

It was announced on Tuesday that Hart would host the Oscars ceremony in February 2019, but the choice was called into question in light of various homophobic comments the comedian has made over the years.

“One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear,” Hart told an audience during a 2010 comedy routine.

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