Hart announced his decision to step down on Twitter, stating, "I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists."
He continued, "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.
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) December 7, 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.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
The apology comes after Hart attempted to defend himself on Instagram, telling people to "stop looking for reasons to be negative," and explaining that he has lived, learned, grown and matured. He also posted a video, in which he claimed the Academy had asked him to publicly apologize; at the time, Hart said he wasn't going to do it.
Stop looking for reasons to be negative...Stop searching for reasons to be angry....I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people....there is nothing that you can do to change that...NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all....with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I'm almost 40 years old and I'm in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love....Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please....What's understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY.....ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that's on you....Have a beautiful day
Much of the initial backlash against Hart focused on a bit from his 2010 special Seriously Funny, in which he declared, "One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay."
A number of since-deleted tweets that saw Hart using homophobic language were also dragged back into the spotlight this week. One screengrab revealed a 2011 tweet that reads: "Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay."
LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD reached out to the Academy yesterday (December 6) to voice its concerns and "discuss Kevin's anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record."
Last year, Hart also generated controversy with his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, which many viewers deemed sexist and criticized for perpetuating gender stereotypes.