Dogged by Old Homophobic Tweets, Oscars Emcee Kevin Hart Steps Down

Kevin Hart has stepped down as the 2019 Academy Awards host after anti-gay slurs he posted on Twitter several years ago came to light in recent days.

However, on Thursday, the actor-comedian announced that he would relinquish the emcee job while apologizing to the LGBTQ community.

"This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists," Hart wrote on Twitter. "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past."

The Academy reportedly gave Hart an ultimatum if he wanted to keep his job, which the actor-comedian revealed in an Instagram video earlier in the evening, Variety reported.

"I just got a call from the Academy and that call basically said, 'Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we're going to have to move on and find another host.' I'm talking about the tweets from 2009 and 2010," the 39-year-old comedian said in a video posted to his Instagram page.

The Academy has yet to issue a statement in response to Hart's decision to step down.

In a 2010 tweet, Hart wrote that someone's profile pic looks "like a gay bill board for AIDS." In a 2009 tweet, he called someone a "fat faced fag," according to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that many of the tweets have since been deleted.

Hart also tweeted in 2011, " 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."

Hart at first said he had refused to apologize.

"I passed. The reason I passed is because I've addressed this several times," Hart said. "This is not the first time this has come up. "Regardless, to the Academy, I'm thankful for the opportunity, if it goes away, no harm, no foul."

A follow-up tweet from Hart Thursday appears to leave open hope of still hosting Hollywood's biggest night in the future.

"I'm sorry that I hurt people," he tweeted. "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."

The 91st Academy Awards air on ABC on Feb. 24.