Shortly after being announced as the host of the 2019 Oscar ceremony on Wednesday, comedian and actor Kevin Hart, or someone he works with, began deleting several tweets containing homophobic phrases. The tweets started to disappear after social media users cited them as reasons why Hart was a poor candidate for hosting, E! News reported.
Hart has been known to use homophobic slurs in his jokes over the years, often using “gay” as an insult. Several of his old jokes resurfaced on social media following the Oscars announcement.
One Twitter user gathered a few screenshots of the tweets before they disappeared and wrote the following.
“I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets.”
“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’,” read one of Hart’s tweets from 2011.
Another dedicated user tracked each time the comedian used “gay,” “homo,” or “fag” and noticed that Hart stopped tweeting those words after 2011, “when his first stand-up movie became a hit.”
Hart’s account has since deleted tweets that included the phrases “fat fag” and “a gay billboard for AIDS.”
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For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time….To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time….I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one. I appreciate the @TheAcademy for the opportunity ….now it’s time to rise to the occasion #Oscars
However, a number of questionable tweets still remain on the account, which social media users are saving and referencing.
In 2015, Hart denied being homophobic in an interview with Rolling Stone, but admitted that one of his “biggest fears” was that his son would “grow up and be gay.”
The comedian assured that he had nothing against gay people, but he would prevent his son from being gay if he could.
He also said that he would never apologize for using “gay people” as the punchline of his jokes.
Benjamin Lee, the Guardian editor that initially compiled Hart’s homophobic tweets, wrote a piece on the matter following the Academy’s decision to choose Hart as the Oscars host. Lee wrote out a history of Hart’s homophobic stand-up comedy routines.
“Hiring Hart is an indicative misstep that highlights how homophobia, casual or blatant, is still de-prioritized in comparison with other discriminatory belief systems,” Lee wrote.
The Oscars have removed celebrities in the past for similar homophobic behavior, according to BuzzFeed News. For example, director Brett Ratner was removed as a producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards in 2011 after he used a gay slur word.
Actor Billy Eichner responded to Hart’s controversy on Twitter by saying he hopes the comedian has evolved since 2011.
“What bothers me about these is you can tell its not just a joke-there’s real truth, anger & fear behind these,” Eichner wrote.
Neither Hart, nor the Academy have commented on the situation yet.