It’s hard to remember a quicker turnaround for a major Hollywood announcement than Kevin Hart’s two day-long tenure as the 2019 Academy Awards host.
After Hart revealed he would host the Oscars on Tuesday, and the news was officially announced Wednesday afternoon, past tweets and jokes from Hart featuring slurs and derogatory language towards gay people quickly resurfaced online.
In his 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny, Hart said it was his "biggest fear" that his son Hendrix would grow up to be gay.
"Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. I have nothing against gay people. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will," he said on stage.
In the past, Hart has also drawn criticism for tweeting the F slur several times, and also for insulting President Trump on stage at the 2018 MTV Music Awards.
Within hours of the announcement that Hart was hosting, a social media backlash against the comic began, and by Thursday night he apologized for his jokes while announcing he was giving up the hosting duties.
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s [sic]," Hart tweeted on Thursday.
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.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
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.
Earlier the same day, Hart revealed on Instagram that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had asked him to choose: apologize for the language he used or be replaced.
The comedian staunchly refused to apologize and quit the job instead, to avoid "feeding the internet trolls." in his words.
"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."
There’s no word so far on who will be filling Hart’s shoes (which must be pretty small, since the comic is only 5’4” tall), but the Academy will have to rush to find someone as the awards ceremony is just months away now.
A likely choice would be talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who has hosted the ceremony for the last two years and generally received good reviews.