Hollywood actor, Kevin Hart, has stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars after tweets emerged in which he used homophobic slurs.
The decision comes just three days after he was announced as host of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony scheduled to hold on February 24, 2019.
The tweets, originally posted between 2009 and 2011, resurfaced shortly after he was confirmed for role. The LGBT community said it contained offensive language towards them.
It comes after LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD reportedly contacted the Academy Awards broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and Hart’s management to “discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record”.
Hart said in a 2010 stand-up special that “if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”
A few days earlier, the comedian described his selection as Oscars’ host as the “opportunity of a lifetime”.
The actor and comedian’s response to the outcry attracted a further backlash, as he wrote on Instagram that critics should “stop being negative”.
On Friday, Hart responded with an apology to the LGBTQ community over his “insensitive words” and announced that he will no longer host the Academy Awards.
The 39-year-old comedian wrote: “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.
“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.
“I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to ll… with that being said, if you want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what you find, that is fine with me.
“I’m almost 50 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You live and you learn and you grow and you mature.”