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Kevin Hart has stepped down from hosting the Oscars after old homophobic tweets surfaced. The tweets, between 2009 and 2011, included derogatory language referring to gay people and made disparaging comments about sexuality. Some of the tweets have since been deleted.

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“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” Hart said via Twitter. “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 apologise 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.”

Hart announced on his official Instagram page that he would host the Academy Awards for the first time in the coming year. “For years I have been asked if I would ever host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s supposed to,” he wrote when he announced the news on Tuesday.

In another Instagram post on Thursday, Hart said the Academy asked him to apologize or they would find another host.

Hart said he chose not to issue the apology and step down instead, saying he did not want to contribute to “feeding the internet trolls.” “The reason why I passed is that I’ve addressed this several times.”

Hart said. “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 space in my life.” 

By Damilola Faustino

Read also: Kevin Hart Excited To Host The 2019 Oscars

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