US comedian and actor Kevin Hart says he has stepped down from hosting the 2019 Oscars following a controversy over homophobic tweets.
He said he did not want to be a distraction and that he was “sorry he had hurt people”.
Kevin Hart says Thank you, Next.. pic.twitter.com/7mEhsaFSr6
— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) December 7, 2018
The choice of Hart for host was only announced on Tuesday.
But tweets from a decade ago emerged of apparent anti-gay slurs, sparking calls for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to drop him.
Kevin Hart had said hosting the Oscars was “a goal on my list for a long time”.
But in a tweet late on Thursday he said he had chosen to step down “because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists”.
He said: “I sincerely apologise to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words of the 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.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
The role has thrown up problems for a number of past hosts and the Hollywood Reporter has called it “the least wanted job in Hollywood“.
The Oscars will take place in Los Angeles on 24 February 2019.