Comedian Kevin Hart steps down as host of 2019 Academy Awards

Update  12:23 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Saying he does not want to be a distraction on the night of the Academy Awards, actor-comedian Kevin Hart said late Thursday he has stepped down as Oscars host following a backlash against his previous anti-gay tweets, Variety reported.

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

Only two hours earlier Thursday, Hart, 39, posted an Instagram video, and said officials from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called him and issued him an ultimatum, 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,” Hart said. “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.”

Original report: Comedian Kevin Hart is hosting next year's Academy Awards ceremony.

The star of the movies “Ride Along” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” to name a few, made the announcement in a post on Instagram this week.

"I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time ... To be able to join the legendary list of hosts that have graced this stage is unbelievable," Hart said. "I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.”

"I will be sure to make sure this year’s Oscars are a special one," the 39-year-old actor said.

Hart had been tapped to replace Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the past two ceremonies. Kimmel was also at the helm when the wrong best picture winner was announced in 2016.

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