The comedian was the controversial choice to host the 2019 Academy Awards, but his selection was immediately met with a monumental backlash across social media for past comments and behavior.
UPDATE: 9:27 p.m. PT December 6, 2018:
Less than an hour after revealing that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences had issued him an ultimatum demanding an apology, Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars telecast, and issued an apology to the LBGTQ community.
After battling a wave of controversy over his selection by the Academy, Hart has finally decided to throw in the towel. This comes after he twice refused to apologize for homophobic tweets dating back to 2009 and 2010, believing that he had already addressed that issue multiple times over the years.
And while Hart had previously indicated that the Academy told him they would be replacing him if he did not apologize, Hart is both apologizing and stepping down, forcing them to find someone else anyway. In a brief series of tweets, Hart said he doesn't want to be a distraction on the night.
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.
Just as quickly as he was announced as the host for the upcoming Academy Awards, Kevin Hart may find himself replaced as he continues to refuse an apology over past homophobic tweets.
According to the comedian in a new video posted to his Instagram post, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences told him, "Apologize for your tweets of old or we're going to have to move on and find another host." Hart was paraphrasing the sentiment, and also said that he "chose to pass on the apology."
"I'm talking about the tweets from 2009 and 2010," he said in this new video. "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. I've done it. 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 place in my life."
Hart went on to say, "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."
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In other words, Hart has been over those old tweets over and over again, he feels he's said his apologies, explained his younger ignorance and he's grown as a person since then, more accepting. But this is the social media universe we're talking about, the same people who got director James Gunn fired for decade-old tweets. Gunn, too, had already addressed them countless times.
The internet has a long memory, but the social media hate machine only chooses to focus on the negative. Kevin Hart could apologize tomorrow and then this same topic would come up the next time he gets a high-profile gig. The apologies get washed away and only the hate remains.
"We feed internet trolls and we reward them. I'm not going to do it, man," Hart said. "I'm going to be me. I'm going to stand my ground. Regardless, Academy, I'm thankful and appreciative of the opportunity. If it goes away, no harm, no foul."
The Academy has not yet responded to Hart's response to their ultimatum, nor did they respond to Variety's request for comment.
After the announcement, many film writers and Oscar pundits were quick to point to Hart's controversial past with cheating, and alleged violence, on top of his homophobic statements.
In December 2017, Hart publicly admitted to cheating on wife Eniko Parrish while she was pregnant with their son earlier in the year. In his 2017 memoir, "I Can't Make This Up," the comedian admitted that there were times when his marriage to first wife Torrei Hart got violent. Hart was also scrutinized in 2010 for having joked that one of his biggest fears is his son "growing up and being gay."
While Hart makes a good point about allowing internet trolls to control hiring and firing, the Academy may be looking for an excuse to step away from the unexpected controversy selecting Hart has created.