Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host over homophobic tweets
7 December 2018, 05:27 | Updated: 7 December 2018, 16:24
Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the Oscars next year after tweets emerged in which he used homophobic slurs.
The decision comes just three days after he was announced as host of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.
Tweets originally posted between 2009 and 2011 resurfaced shortly after he was confirmed for the job, containing offensive language towards the LGBT community.
The actor and comedian's response to the outcry attracted a further backlash, as he wrote on Instagram that critics should "stop being negative".
In an accompanying video, Hart said he wasn't going to "let the craziness frustrate me" and added that he "loves everybody".
In a second video, Hart said the Academy had asked him to apologise over the tweets but he "chose to pass" as he has "addressed this several times before".
He said the "same energy that went into finding those old tweets could be the same energy put into finding the response" and that he did not want to have to explain again that he is a different person now.
"I passed on the apology," he said. "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've done it. I'm not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old. I've moved on, I'm in a completely different space 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.
"We feed internet trolls and reward them. I'm not going to do it, man. I'm going to be me, and I'm going to stand my ground."
However, in a tweet he did apologise "for my insensitive words from the past".
It comes after LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD reportedly contacted the Academy Awards broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and Hart's management to "discuss Kevin's anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record".
Hart said in a 2010 stand-up special that "if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will."
He announced he was withdrawing himself from the role in the early hours of Friday morning, writing on Twitter: "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."
He added in a follow-up post: "I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so."
The awards ceremony will take place in February, with Hart describing the gig as the "opportunity of a lifetime" when he was made host.
The 39-year-old wrote: "I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars.
"I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time.
"To be able to join the legendary list of hosts that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now."
A representative for the Oscars did not immediately respond to messages after Hart stepped down.
Now, speculation is growing as to who will take over as host.
Actress Busy Philipps has thrown her hat into the ring, and made a case for the host being female.
The controversy comes after several years of upset for the Oscars, following recognition of a diversity problem with the #OscarsSoWhite movement, and La La Land being mistakenly announced as the winner of best picture last year.
Next year's ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday 24 February.
(c) Sky News 2018: Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host over homophobic tweets