Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host As Controversy Swirls

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart's stint as an Oscar host lasted just a few hours. Shortly after it was announced that the Central Intelligence star would host the next Academy Awards, controversial comments that Hart made on social media and in his past stand-up surfaced, and pressure was put on Hart to step down. Thursday night, he issued these Tweets:

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The comments that were dug up on Kevin Hart's social media were homophobic in nature. But the comedian was towing a different line earlier in the day, saying that he has been well aware of those old comments, and stating that he has addressed them repeatedly in the past, and shown that he has grown as a person, and as a performer.

In fact, in this video, Kevin Hart basically says that he received a phone call from the Academy telling him to apologize, or they'd have to find a new host. And Hart says he refuses to give into the Internet trolls, and that the same energy used to dig up those old Tweets could also be used to find the conversations that already have happened AFTER he addressed those Tweets.

But something happened between this video and the Tweets above, because Kevin Hart ultimately decided not to be a distraction, and to remove himself from the telecast.

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In the old Tweets, Kevin Hart used homophobic language when firing back at people who were criticizing him on social media. They weren't jokes. They were statements and replies that happened to use homophobic slang in derogatory fashion.

Kevin Hart's point was that he has addressed these comments already, apologized for them, and he doesn't support the relitigation of one's history. But rather than continue to cast a shadow over the entire event, he stepped down.

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And now the Academy is back to square one, looking for a host to fill what has become, in recent years, a thankless gig. What once was an illustrious honor has become an invitation for performers to be torn down by critics over every little chance they take. Oscar hosts are either not funny, taking too much time, not on the show enough, out of touch, trying too many bits, or distracting. They can't win, which is why no one wants to do it anymore.

The Academy has tried comedians (Jon Stewart, Chris Rock). They have tried actors (Anne Hathaway and James Franco), and seasoned awards hosts (Neil Patrick Harris). Truthfully, I'm not sure what the solution is. Do you?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.