8pm: In a situation that appears to be changing by the minute, it seems the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may be looking for a new host for the upcoming Oscars ceremony after all.
Comedian Kevin Hart was tapped to host a few days ago and has since come under fire for escalating concerns over a long history of hate speech and derogatory jokes about the LGBTQ community on social media.
Hart responded with an Instagram video post which wasn’t an apology for his comments so much as a ‘leave me alone’ style deal and it only increased the push for him to be ousted.
Now in a new Instagram video, Hart says the Academy called him and essentially gave him an ultimatum – apologise or else. He appears to have chosen or else:
“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. I chose to pass on the apology. 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.”
Numerous celebs and members of the Academy are all weighing in online today as well and so far very few seem to be in Hart’s corner.
10pm: It’s official, Hart is out and has quit the job. He sent out a tweeted statement:
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….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 & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
AMPAS is now expected to begin the hunt for a new host.