There will be no official host at the Oscars for the first time in 30 years after Kevin Hart was forced to quit following the resurfacing of a series of homophobic tweets.
A publicist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences told Fox News Monday night that the show would go on without a central host for only the second time in its history.
Instead, presenting duties at the 91st Academy Awards show will be shared among 13 stars including Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Brie Larson, Daniel Craig and Jennifer Lopez.
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart was forced to step down in December amid a slew of backlash over a series of tweets dating back to 2009, including one in which he said he wouldn’t let his son play with dolls because ‘that’s gay’.
The 39-year-old initially said he wouldn’t stand down from his role and refused to say sorry, because people were ‘looking for reasons to be negative’ and ‘angry’.
But just two hours later, Hart issued an apology to the LGBTQ community and resigned as Oscars host.
‘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,’ the comedian tweeted on December 6, just two days after being named host. ‘I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.’
This year’s ceremony will be the first since the 61st Academy Awards show to air without a main presenter.
The host-less show in 1989 started with an 11-minute musical segment. It was branded an ’embarrassment’ by 17 big names in Hollywood, including Dame Julie Andrews and actor Paul Newman, who wrote a letter slamming Oscar bosses.
‘The 61st Academy Awards show was an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry,’ the letter stated, according to History.com.
‘It is neither fitting nor acceptable that the best work in motion pictures be acknowledged in such a demeaning fashion.’
Chris Evans, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Charlize Theron, Awkwafina, Amandla Stenberg, Tessa Thompson and Constance Wu will also share the stage to present gongs.
After initially being announced as presenter, Kevin Hart shared a heartfelt post revealing it was a dream come true to host the Oscars.
But a series of tweets dating from 2009 to 2011 surfaced in which the comedian spewed blatant anti-gay rhetoric.
In 2011, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet: ‘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.”
The comedian has since deleted the tweets, but that wasn’t before screen captures began circulating online, gaining widespread criticism.
Earlier in the day, Hart responded to criticism in a way that further inflamed backlash just two days after he was named host of the upcoming Academy Awards.
He wrote on Instagram that critics should ‘stop being negative’. In an accompanying video, a shirtless Hart lounging in bed warily said he wasn’t going to ‘let the craziness frustrate me.’
‘I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve? I don’t know what to tell you,’ said Hart, who added, in all-caps: ‘I love everybody.’
His refusal to admit fault and apologize for the tweets sparked public outcry for the removal of his hosting gig.
GLAAD, the advocacy group for LGBTQ rights, said it had reached out to Oscars broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Hart’s management to ‘discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record.’
Hart’s attitudes about homosexuality were also a well-known part of his stand-up act.
In the 2010 special Seriously Funny, he said ‘one of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay.’
‘Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, do what you want to do, but me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will,’ Hart said in the routine.
Though he refused to apologize for his comments twice, he conceded after several hours.
‘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 tweeted.