Hart’s withdrawal as host comes after a major backlash from the LGBT community outcry over anti-gay tweets, and comments Hart made during stand-up routines in the past.. Some of the tweets were deleted throughout the day on Thursday, leading to an Instragram video from the comedian that only made matters worse for him.
“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago,’” he said in that video. “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.”
Hours later, Hart posted another video stating that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had given him an ultimatum: Apologize or we’ll find a new host.
“I chose to pass on the apology,” Hart said defiantly. “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.”
Less than two hours later, Hart announced via Twitter that he was stepping down (pushed?) from hosting the Oscars.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” he wrote. “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 Academy refused to comment about Hart’s announcement.