The actor and comedian said he had refused to apologise for the tweets, which were posted from 2009-2011 and have mostly been deleted, when asked to do so by the Academy Awards organisers.
Among the 2009-11 tweets was a now-deleted post that read: “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’.”
People also resurfaced a video from a 2010 standup special, in which Hart delivered an extended joke based on the fear his three-year-old son will be gay.
“One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay,” he said. ”That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!”
In 2015, Hart revealed that he turned down a role in 2008’s Tropic Thunder because the character was gay and his behaviour was “real flagrant”, before adding that he’d never be able to play a gay character in the future.
In an Instagram post Hart spoke out against the “negative energy” of the criticism, asking people to “stop searching for reasons to be angry”. He said he was almost 40 years old and was “in love with the man I’m becoming”.
In a later video he said he had been asked to apologise by the Academy or another host would be found. “I chose to pass. I passed on the apology,” he said, repeating that the issue of the tweets had been addressed in the past.
But in a tweet late on Thursday, Hart 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”.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars... this is 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 from my past.”
He continued: “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 had previously said hosting the Oscars was “a goal on my list for a long time”.
The role has thrown up problems for a number of past hosts. Hollywood Reporter has called it “the least wanted job in Hollywood”.
The Oscars take place in Los Angeles on 24 February 2019.
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