Kevin Hart steps down as host of Oscars in wake of controversy over homophobic tweets and jokes

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      For a couple of days, it looked like comedian Kevin Hart was going to host the 2019 Academy Awards.

      But tonight, he tweeted that he's "made the choice to step down" from the prestigious gig.

      It came after extensive media coverage of his previous homophobic tweets and homophobic jokes.

      Hart stated on Twitter this evening that he did "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," he said.

      In a subsequent tweet, Hart repeated he was sorry that he hurt people.

      "I am evolving and want to continue to do so," he added. "My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."

      Shortly after Hart was named as the host of the 91st Oscars, the Guardian's Benjamin Lee wrote a damning story about how his homophobia is "no laughing matter".

      Fast Company followed that up by  posting its own story this morning saying that Hart "may have a homophobia problem" after some of his earlier tweets resurfaced.