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Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars following a backlash over homophobic tweets.
The comedian was only announced as the host for the awards on Tuesday, but homophobic tweets from the Jumanji actor dating as far back as 2009 have since resurfaced.
The 39-year-old, who said when he was announced as host that it was the 'opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian', has now stepped down because he does 'not want to be a distraction'.
He posted on Twitter:
Hart continued: "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 also shared a video on Instagram, in which he claimed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had asked that he apologise, but he refused... which is ironic, considering he apologised in the tweet in which he announced he was stepping down.
He said: "I chose to pass, I passed on the apology. The reason I chose to pass is because I've addressed this several times, this is not the first time this has come up, I've addressed this... 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 space in my life.
"Regardless, Academy, I'm thankful and appreciative of the opportunity. If it goes away no harm no foul."
The controversy relates to a number of tweets from 2009 to 2011, in which the comedian used homophobic terms. A video of him performing a stand up routine in 2010 in which he discusses his fears of his son being gay have also been shared in recent days.
There has been a mixed reaction to the news on social media:
Hart would have been only the fifth black entertainer to have hosted the Oscars, following in the footsteps of Sammy Davis, Jr. (1972 and 1975), Richard Pryor (1977 and 1983), Whoopi Goldberg (1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002) and Chris Rock (2005 and 2016).
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