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Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscars Host After Criticism Over Homophobic Tweets

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“Hart’s obsession,” Mr. Lee wrote in The Guardian, “with making unfunny, disrespectful and inappropriate jokes about a community he has shown nothing but bile for along with a string of unrepentant responses to any criticism paints him as someone entirely undeserving of a spot on the Oscars stage.”

Mr. Hart appears to have deleted the four tweets that were shared by Mr. Lee. But early Friday morning, other tweets that included homophobic slurs or used the phrase “gay face” as an insult remained on his account. (They were shared in 2011 or earlier.)

Mr. Hart has also brought up homophobia in his comedy shows.

“One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay,” he said in a 2010 standup performance. “That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. I have nothing against gay people. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”

Five years later, he discussed that joke in an interview with Rolling Stone.

“I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now,” he said in 2015. “I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can. These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?”

Before Mr. Hart stepped down, Glaad, a media advocacy group for L.G.B.T. people, said it had “reached out to ABC, the Academy and Kevin Hart’s management to discuss his rhetoric and record as well as opportunities for positive L.G.B.T.Q. inclusion on the Oscars stage.” The group’s chief executive, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Hart made a mistake by bowing out and that “he should have stepped up.”

“Hart’s apology to L.G.B.T.Q. 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,” Ms. Ellis said on Friday. “We would still welcome that conversation with him.”

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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