[USA], Dec 7 (ANI): American comedian-actor Kevin Hart has stepped down as the 2019 Academy Awards host following an outrage over his homophobic tweets dating back to 2009.
The 39-year-old star took to his official Twitter handle to share the news with his fans.
"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," he tweeted.
"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 wrote in another tweet.
This comes just two days after the Academy announced that the 'Ride Along' actor would be hosting the award ceremony, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
The abrupt move came amid an ongoing controversy after the star's old tweets surfaced online in which he had expressed anti-gay sentiments and used homophobic terminology.
Just a few hours back, Hart posted a video on his official Instagram account saying that he had refused a demand from the Academy to apologise for his old tweets.
"So I just got a call from The Academy. That call basically said, 'Kevin, apologize for your tweets or we're going to have to move on and find another host. I passed," Hart said in the video.
"The reason that I passed is I've addressed it several times. That's 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 gonna continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I've moved on. I'm in a completely different space in my life," he further added.
The controversial tweets included a 2011 tweet in which the comedian and movie star had written, "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 tweet from 2010, Hart says someone's profile pic looks "like a gay bill board for AIDS." In another written in 2009, he called someone a "fat faced fag."
Hart, in an interaction with Rolling Stone in 2015, said that he wouldn't tell the joke again, "because when I said it, the times weren't as sensitive as they are now." (ANI)