Comedian Kevin Hart has stepped down as host for the 2019 Oscars following backlash from historical homophobic tweets.
Hart, 40, was only announced as host for the event earlier this week but came under fire after the tweets, some of which date back almost a decade, resurfaced online after the announcement.
Hart took to Twitter to apologise, saying he is “evolving” and wants “to continue to do so”.
“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.
“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 & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
A number of Hart’s tweets some took issue with have since been deleted, but not before people online saved screenshots of them.
“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,’” a 2011 tweet said.
“Why does @wayne215 have so many pictures of me in his phone!!! What ru some type of FAT FAG that takes pic of small black men all day?” read another.
Hart’s decision to step down came just hours after he posted an Instagram video in which he appeared reluctant to apologise.
“If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past then do you, I’m the wrong guy man. I’m in a great place, a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity,” he said.
“Our world is becoming beyond crazy. I’m not gonna let the craziness frustrate me or anger me, especially when I have worked hard to get to the mental space where I am at now.”
The 2019 Oscars are scheduled for February 24 in Los Angeles.