Comedian Kevin Hart’s past anti-gay comments posted on social media have cost him his job as host of the upcoming Oscars.
Hart stepped down Thursday night, just two days after announcing he had been chosen to host the largest event of the year for the motion picture industry. The move comes after Hart refused Academy requests to apologize for a slew of anti-gay comments that he’d posted on social media from 2009 to 2011.
The stand-up comic and star of the currently-released comedy NightSchool issued an apology for his past anti-gay comments in his announcement on Twitter:
The furor quickly erupted following the announcement of Hart as host for a ceremony celebrating a number of films with LGBTQ themes. The Academy has faced renewed pressure to increase ratings of the Oscar broadcast, after this year’s program, hosted for the second consecutive year by Jimmy Kimmel, was watched by a record-low 26.5 million viewers.
The Academy has vowed to keep the upcoming 2019 ceremony under three hours, with plans to announce winners of some of the less popular categories during commercial breaks, airing excerpts later in the broadcast.
Earlier this year the Academy announced plans to create a new “popular movie” category, but quickly backtracked on that following widespread criticism.