Comedian and actor Kevin Hart was supposed to host the 2019 Oscars, but on Friday he stepped down from the role after a slew of old homophobic tweets resurfaced.
A number of tweets posted some ten years ago were shared by Guardian US journalist Benjamin Lee, and other users on the social network. Many of the tweets screenshot in the post were deleted on Thursday.
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I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets
— Benjamin Lee (@benfraserlee) 5 December 2018
Buzzfeed reporter Adam B. Vary too trawled Hart’s Twitter account more thoroughly on Wednesday — when he was announced as the Oscars host — highlighting every instance that “Kevin Hart tweeted ‘fag,’ ‘homo,’ or ‘gay.'”
“It was…a lot,” Vary added.
After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted “fag,” “homo,” or “gay.” It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) 5 December 2018
In the wake of the brewing internet storm, Hart responded on Instagram early Friday morning, asking people to “stop looking for reasons to be negative…stop searching for reasons to be angry…”
“I am truly happy people… there is nothing that you can do to change that….NOTHING,” he added in the confessional-style clip.
The Instagram video has amassed more than 780 000 views at the time of writing.
The Motion Picture Academy however didn’t find this video, or his tweets, amusing.
In another Instagram post published hours later, Hart noted that the Academy had asked him to issue an apology to those he offended or risk getting axed as the host entirely.
He failed to issue an apology in the video, claiming that he’s “done it” before and is now in a “completely different place in my life”.
Two hours after he published the video, Hart announced on Twitter that he will step down as the host of the 2019 Oscars.
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.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) 7 December 2018
“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,” he tweeted Friday.
He did, however, “sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community” for what he deemed “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 & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) 7 December 2018
“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 & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again,” he added in a subsequent update.
Opinions on the fiasco are mixed.
Many Twitter users believed that Hart had nothing to apologize for.
“This was your dream job. Everyone make mistakes,” one user wrote.
Oh I love KH to the utmost! Keep telling your jokes and be yourself! That tweet was what? 8 damn years ago! REALLY!
— Aundrea Renee Glover (@aundrea_glover) 7 December 2018
Don’t apologize for shit. It’s comedy bro you can say whatever you want and if they don’t think it’s funny they don’t have to laugh and they don’t have to talk about it. People are too damn eager to be mad about something..
— Cant Tell Me Nothing (@REAL_MoGreen) 7 December 2018
This was your dream job. Everyone make mistakes. You should still host.
P.S.: I support LBGQT community but we have to stop being sensitive to everything. NO one in this world is perfect. As many things said about black ppl, hmm. Where was that anger for us!
— Frances (@Frankie1654) 7 December 2018
— ĸodeeranтѕ (@kodeerants) 7 December 2018
Others confirmed they’re no longer planning to watch next year’s show after Hart stepped down.
Im not watching
— Thicker Than Peanut Butter
(@Khanyo_Kuhle) 7 December 2018
While some rejected Hart’s apology entirely. “Maybe in time we can forgive but not today,” wrote one user.
Apology REJECTED. Do better. Maybe in time we can forgive but not today.
— Blair Imani (@BlairImani) 7 December 2018
You can be a fan of someone and recognize that they are dead wrong. Kevin was wrong. His views were harmful. Don’t stan him at the expense of your morals.
He will learn and grow from this if he’s sincere.
— Tanisha Long (@Tanishaevonne) 7 December 2018
Kevin Hart continues to trend worldwide on Twitter at the time of writing. The Academy has yet to announce who will be replacing Hart as the host of the 2019 Oscars.
Feature image: screenshot, Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4Real) via Instagram