Comedian Kevin Hart Steps Down From Oscars Gig After Backlash Over Homophobic Jokes

Comedian Kevin Hart announced late Thursday that he would be “stepping down” from hosting this year’s Academy Awards to avoid being a “distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' decision to tap Hart to host the awards ceremony this week sparked an uproar after old tweets surfaced in which the comedian made homophobic jokes. In separate videos posted to Instagram on Thursday, Hart first issued a non-apology over the tweets, saying “our world is becoming beyond crazy” for getting upset over the comments. He later said he’d received a call from the Academy in which he said he was given an ultimatum. “‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move on and find another host,’” he quoted the Academy as telling him, saying he’d chosen to “pass” on the offer. In his announcement that he'd be stepping down, he apologized for his "insensitive words" in the past.