Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 2019 Academy Awards amid controversy over alleged homophobic tweets he posted nearly a decade ago.
The US comedian and actor was named as the host of the Oscars on Tuesday, describing the role as "the opportunity of a lifetime".
Shortly after his appointment, tweets resurfaced, originally posted between 2009 and 2011, which contained offensive language towards the LGBT community.
Amid a growing controversy and after refusing the Academy's request to apologise, Hart announced on Twitter he was stepping aside and said sorry for his "insensitive" words.
In a tweet on Friday, he said: "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 apologise 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."
Hart posted a video minutes before stepping down in which he appeared to defend himself.
He said: “I just got a call from the Academy and that call basically said 'Kevin apologise for your tweets of old or we'll have to move on and find another host'. I chose to pass because I've addressed this several times. I've said who I am now verses who I was then. I'm in a completely different space in my life."
The Oscars will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24.More about: | Kevin Hart | Oscars