Just a day after he was announced the official 2019 Oscars host, Kevin Hart is stepping down from the gig.
The actor-comedian was met with outcry over resurfaced anti-gay tweets and comments he had made during stand-up routines nearly 10 years ago. He then responded with a defiant Instagram response that only earned him more hostility. Rather than apologize for his comments and for his non-apology, Hart decided to step down, leaving the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in search of a new Oscars host.
On Wednesday, the Academy announced Hart as the official 2019 Oscars host. By Thursday night, Hart was off the roster. The swift development came about after outcry over old offensive tweets and comments made by Hart prompted a bizarre non-apology from the Night School actor.
Hart took to Instagram to address the outcry, posting a video in which he did everything but apologize for his comments. He said in the video:
“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago.’ 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.”
The post’s winding caption repeated much of what he said in the video, with Hart writing, “I am truly happy people…there is nothing you can do to change that…NOTHING,” adding “I am almost 40 years old and I am in love with the man I’m becoming.”
Needless to say, this response didn’t engender much goodwill with the critics and LGBTQ folks who sought an apology from Hart. The offending tweets were deleted from his account throughout the day Thursday, but the damage done by Hart’s video could not be undone. A few hours later, Hart revealed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had given him an ultimatum: apologize or they would find a new host.
“I chose to pass on the apology,” the 39-year-old actor-comedian said in yet another Instagram video. “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.”
It took another six hours for Hart to finally offer the apology that people were looking for, in a tweet that confirmed that he was officially stepping down as the 2019 Oscars host.
The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 22, 2019. The televised ceremony will follow on February 24, 2019.
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