Kevin Hart Refuses Academy Demand That He Apologize for Past Homophobic Comments
But shortly thereafter, he formally stepped down from hosting the Oscars.
As the controversy over Kevin Hart's past anti-gay tweets grows, the star, who was named to host the Oscars on Tuesday, said this evening that he has refused a demand from the Academy to apologize.
In a video posted on Instagram from Sydney, Australia, where he is currently on tour, Hart said he received a call from the Academy giving him an ultimatum: Apologize for his old tweets or step down as Oscars host.
"I chose to pass, I passed on the apology. 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," he said. "I’ve done it, I’ve done it. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old. I’ve moved on, I’m in a completely different space in my life. The same energy that went into finding those old tweets, could be the same energy put into finding the response to the questions that have been asked years after years after years.
"We feed internet trolls and reward them. I’m not going to do it, man. I’m going to be me, and I’m going to stand my ground," Hart added. "Regardless, to the Academy, I'm thankful and appreciative of the opportunity. If it goes away, no harm, no foul."
About two hours later, though, he tweeted that he was stepping down as Oscar host, a role he had long wanted to step into. "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," Hart wrote.
He added seconds later, "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."
Ironically, in giving up the hosting spot, Hart actually offered the apology that earlier he had refused to provide.
Several hours earlier in the day, Hart made his first attempt to address the controversy over dozens of his anti-gay tweets that resurfaced after he was announced as this year's Oscars host.
In a black-and-white Instagram video, Hart, lying in bed shirtless, says, "I swear, man, our world is becoming beyond crazy. I'm not going to let the craziness frustrate me or anger me, especially when I worked hard to get to the mental space that I am at now."
He continues, "My team calls me, 'Oh my, God, Kevin, this world is upset about tweets you did years ago.'
"Guys. I'm almost 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 or explain their past, then do you. I'm the wrong guy, man," Hart says. "I'm in a great place, a great mature place, where all I do is spread positivity."
In an accompanying message, the actor/comedian writes, "Stop looking for reasons to be negative ... Stop searching for reasons to be angry."
"I live to Love," Hart writes. "I LOVE EVERYBODY.....ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that's on you."
The controversial tweets in question were posted between 2009 and 2011. In one, Hart wrote, "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.'" In another, he calls someone a "fat faced fag."
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
Dec. 6, 7:57 p.m. Updated with latest Kevin Hart Instagram post.
Dec. 6, 9:35 p.m. Updated with Kevin Hart's tweet that he is stepping down as Oscar host.