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Oscars 2019: Kevin Hart Steps Down as Host After Refusing Academy Demand

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Kevin Hart is stepping down as Oscars host simply two days after the Academy introduced he would tackle the high-profile gig. The transfer got here amid a mounting controversy after outdated tweets surfaced wherein Hart expressed anti-gay sentiments and used homophobic terminology and slurs.

In a tweet late Thursday, Hart formally withdrew from internet hosting the Oscars, a job he had lengthy needed to step into. “I’ve made the selection to step down from internet hosting this yr’s Oscar’s….it is because I don’t need to be a distraction on an evening that needs to be celebrated by so many wonderful proficient artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ group for my insensitive phrases from my previous,” Hart wrote.

He added seconds later, “I am sorry that I harm individuals. I’m evolving and need to proceed to take action. My purpose is to convey individuals collectively not tear us aside. A lot love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we are able to meet once more.”

Earlier within the night, Hart had posted an Instagram video from Sydney, Australia, the place he’s touring, saying that he had refused a requirement from the Academy to apologize. He mentioned   the Academy gave him an ultimatum: apologize for his outdated tweets or step down as Oscars host. 

“I handed. The explanation I handed is as a result of I’ve addressed this a number of occasions. This isn’t the primary time this has come up,” he mentioned. “Regardless, to the Academy, I am grateful for the chance, if it goes away, no hurt, no foul,” Hart added.

Satirically, in giving up the internet hosting spot, Hart truly supplied the apology that earlier he had refused to offer.

The Academy didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

However for the Academy, the state of affairs smacks of déjà vu. In late 2011, Brett Ratner resigned as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after saying “rehearsal is for fags” in a public Q&A for his movie Tower Heist. Ratner’s exit led to the departure of Eddie Murphy, that yr’s introduced host, who stepped down in solidarity. (Billy Crystal stuffed in.)

Shedding Hart as host will put much more stress on Donna Gigliotti, who’s producing the 91st Oscars, set to be broadcast by ABC on Feb. 24. This week’s announcement that Hart would host got here comparatively late within the course of. Now, discovering a brand new host to tackle emcee duties might be much more tough.

Earlier within the day, Hart issued an Instagram video wherein he mentioned, “I swear, man, our world is turning into past loopy. I am not going to let the craziness frustrate me or anger me, particularly after I labored exhausting to get to the psychological house that I’m at now.”

He continued, “My group calls me, ‘Oh my, God, Kevin, this world is upset about tweets you probably did years in the past.’Guys. I am virtually 40 years outdated. If you happen to do not imagine that folks change, develop, evolve as they grow old, I do not know what to inform you. If you wish to maintain individuals able the place they all the time need to justify or clarify their previous, then do you. I am the unsuitable man, man,” Hart says. “I am in an amazing place, an amazing mature place, the place all I do is unfold positivity.”

The tweets in query included a 2011 tweet wherein the comic and film star had written, “Yo if my son comes residence & attempt’s 2 play with my daughters doll home I am going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘cease that is homosexual.'” In one other from 2010, Hart says somebody’s profile pic seems “like a homosexual invoice board for AIDS.” In one other written in 2009, he referred to as somebody a “fats confronted fag.” 

These tweets and lots of extra like them might be discovered as just lately as Tuesday, the day Hart was introduced as host. However as phrase of them started to unfold within the days following, they started to vanish.

The tweets drew condemnation from the likes of actor-comedian Billy Eichner, who tweeted, “You’ll be able to inform its not only a joke — there’s actual fact, anger & concern behind these. I hope Kevin’s pondering has developed since 2011.”

Journalist Mark Harris went even additional, tweeting the selection of Hart as host was “out-of-sync for a yr wherein Rami Malek, Melissa McCarthy, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali, Richard E. Grant, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Lucas Hedges may all get nominated for enjoying LBGTQ characters.”

GLAAD reached out to ABC, the Academy and Hart’s administration to “focus on his rhetoric and document in addition to alternatives for constructive LGBTQ inclusion on the Oscars stage,” mentioned Wealthy Ferraro, chief communications officer for GLAAD. He mentioned they didn’t instantly reply. 

It was not the primary time Hart’s ideas on LGBT individuals have triggered controversy. A 2011 standup routine about his then 3-year-old son having a “homosexual second” — “You have to nip it within the bud!” he warned the viewers — was criticized as selling homophobic and harmful parenting, in line with The Guardian.

Pose star Indya Moore — whose groundbreaking trans collection drew Golden Globe nominations for greatest drama and greatest actor (for Billy Porter) — penned a prolonged Twitter thread that laid into Hart for “sexualizing” his son in his 2011 routine, including, “‘Your selection to forestall’ your youngster from being ‘homosexual’ is concern driver. You ARE homophobic Kevin.”

“You @KevinHart4real are NOT FIT a mannequin, or consultant to Host for the @TheAcademy which CELEBRATES & WELCOMES expertise of all genders, sexualities, & ethnicities,” Moore continued. Poseexecutive producer Ryan Murphy retweeted a number of of the tweets.

Hart advised Rolling Stone in 2015 that he would not inform the joke once more, “as a result of after I mentioned it, the occasions weren’t as delicate as they’re now.”

This text initially appeared in THR.com.

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