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Comedian Kevin Hart backs out of hosting Oscars following outrage over old tweets


Stand-up star apologizes to the LGBT community for his past comments

(Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, stand-up comedian Kevin Hart was announced as the next host of the 91st Oscars ceremony in February. Hart accepted the honor, calling it "the opportunity of a lifetime."

Online critics balked at Hart being selected, calling him homophobic and pointing to a number of old tweets from the entertainer's past.

The comic backed out of the role on Thursday, saying he would rather step down than apologize at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' request. Later that day, he ultimately did issue a public apology to the gay community.

What are the details?

As news of old tweets from 2009 to 2011 went viral, several were deleted from Hart's Twitter account during the day on Thursday. Many contained gay slurs, which he reportedly stopped using on social media years ago.

Hart initially responded to the backlash with an Instagram video, urging people to "stop looking for reasons to be negative," saying, "If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find out that is fine with me."

"My team calls me, 'Oh my God, Kevin, everyone's upset by tweets you did years ago.'" the comedian says in the 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 a second video on Instagram telling his followers that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had demanded he apologize for his past comments, threatening that they would otherwise find a new host.

"I chose to pass on the apology," Hart explained. "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."

So, why did he back out?

As the fallout continued on social media, Hart announced on Twitter that he would back out of hosting the Oscars, saying he did not want to be a distraction to the ceremony and apologizing to the LGBT community for his past comments.

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