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Kevin Hart has decided to quit as host of the 2019 Oscars following a controversy over homophobic tweets.

The actor said he did not want to be a distraction and that he was “sorry he had hurt people”.

The choice of Kevin Hart for host was only announced on December 4.

However, tweets from a decade ago emerged of anti-gay slurs, sparking calls for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to drop him.

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Kevin Hart had said hosting the Oscars was “a goal on my list for a long time”.

In a tweet on December 6, the actor said he had chosen to step down” because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists”.

He said: “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.”

Comments Kevin Hart made during a comedy routine in 2010 have been put under the spotlight in recent days.

“One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear,” the actor told the audience.

“Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do.

“But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”

In 2015, by which time Kevin Hart’sprofile had risen significantly, the actor addressed the comments in an interview with Rolling Stone.

He said: “I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now.

“I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can.”

When Kevin Hart revealed he would bethe Oscars host earlier this week, he said it was the “opportunity of alifetime for me as a comedian” and that his mother was “smiling fromear to ear right now”.