US: ‘I’m over it:’ Comedian Kevin Hart rules out hosting the Oscars

Kevin Hart at the premiere for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in Los Angeles, December 11, 2017 – Image:  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

(Reuters) – The actor, Kevin Hart, ruled out hosting this year’s Oscars, because he no longer had enough time to prepare for the show, days after saying he was evaluating his December decision to step down over criticism of past homophobic comments.

He told ABC that he was no longer willing to discuss the anti-gay comments he had made on Twitter in 2010 and 2011, which caused the uproar that led him to step down as host, saying his previous explanations and apology were sufficient.

“I’m over it”,  he said repeatedly to almost every question on the topic, during a sometimes testy interview on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Hart as Oscars host in December, but he stepped down soon after, amid criticism of his past tweets.

Last week, Hart had said he was re-evaluating that decision, after the openly-gay comedian, Ellen DeGeneres, a past Oscars’ host, said she had called the Academy to advocate for Hart. By Wednesday, the evaluation appeared to be over.

“No, I’m not hosting the Oscars this year”, he said in an ABC interview.

“It’s not in God’s plan right now”. He said he could not rule out hosting in future years.

Hart, known for his stand-up comedy and roles in films including “Ride Along”, said he would not have enough time ahead of the February 24 ceremony in Los Angeles, to prepare to do a professional job:

“If I do something I want to give it my all”.

The Academy, which hands out the Oscar awards, has not announced a replacement host.

In one of his old Twitter posts, Hart had described an actor’s picture as a “gay billboard for AIDS”.  In another, he said if his son were to play with a doll’s house, he would break it over the boy’s head, and tell him to stop being gay.

Hart apologized in December for “insensitive words from my past”, and told DeGeneres last week in an interview on her talk show that he does not “have a homophobic bone in my body”.

Pressed repeatedly [asked him] in Monday’s ABC interview to elaborate on those comments, Hart declined.

“I’ve said everything I can possibly say and I’m over it”.

-Jonathan Allen

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