Originally posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Just two days after naming Kevin Hart its host, Hart has decided not to do it, in part because the Academy demanded he apologize for anti-gay Tweets he made around 2009 to 2011.

» Actor-comedian Kevin Hart announced as 2019 Oscars host

He also said in a  2010 comedy special that one of his greatest fears was his son being gay. Critics have also cited his admittance of domestic abuse with his first wife

Hart, on social media Thursday, said he has already apologized for these jokes numerous times in the past and doesn’t want to have to go through that again.

“I’m not going to go back,” he said on Instagram. “I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”

» Kevin Hart dismisses criticism of his son’s ‘cowboys and Indians’ party

His rationale for not doing the Oscar telecast early next year: “We feed Internet trolls and reward them. I’m not going to do it.” 

Late Thursday, he made the move official:

“I'm sorry that I hurt people,” he said on Twitter. “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. “ 

He added: “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 surprises 9 Atlanta students with HBCU scholarships

One of the Tweets cited by Buzzfeed News that Hart deleted this week: “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.” He frequently used phrases like “fag” and “homo.”

Since those tweets, Hart’s career has been on the rise, with a string of hit movies, many shot in metro Atlanta including “Ride Along” and the recent “Night School.” 

GLAAD, which represents the LGBTQ community, said Hart should have stayed on. “Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness. We would still welcome that conversation with him. The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment as they look for a new host.”

In 2011, Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour”) resigned as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after saying "rehearsal is for fags" in a public Q&A for his film “Tower Heist.” Eddie Murphy stepped down as host and Billy Crystal filled in. 

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