Kevin Hart has been forced to step down as the 2019 Oscars.

The move came after a series of homophobic tweets and a string of anti-gay jokes made during his stand-up routines nearly 10 years ago emerged. Hart attempted to delete all the aforementioned tweets during the day and initially refused to step down from the 91st Academy Awards, posting a video on Instagram, saying: “My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago,’” he said in that video.

“Guys, I’m nearly 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify the past, do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”

Hart also suggested that the Oscars offered him a chance to apologise for the tweets, an offer in which he refused: “I chose to pass on the apology,” the 39-year-old said. “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.”

Despite his defiance, hours later a tweet followed from Hart in which he has now decided to step down from the role: “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” he wrote.

“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. 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 and appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”

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