By Madeline Holcombe and Joe Sutton, CNN
Kevin Hart is stepping down from hosting the Oscars after homophobic tweets surfaced on Thursday.
The tweets, between 2009 and 2011, included derogatory language referring to gay people and made disparaging comments about sexuality.
In one of the tweets from 2011, among some that have been deleted, the comedian-actor said, “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’.”
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” Hart, who is currently performing in Sydney, Australia, announced late Sunday on Twitter. “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 apologize 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 announced on his official Instagram page that he would host the Academy Awards for the first time in the coming year.
“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,” he wrote when he announced the news on Tuesday.
In another Instagram post on Thursday, Hart said the Academy asked him to apologize or they would find another host. Hart said he chose not to issue the apology and step down instead, saying he did not want to contribute to “feeding the internet trolls.”
“The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times,” Hart said. “I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”
Chad Griffin, the head of an LGBT civil rights advocacy group called the Human Rights Campaign, responded to Hart on Twitter.
“You have a rare opportunity to take responsibility, teach people in this moment, & send a message to LGBTQ youth that they matter & deserve dignity & respect. You say you’ve grown. Show us. Make amends for hurtful things you’ve said & affirm LGBTQ people,” Griffin said.
On Friday morning Hart posted another tweet, this time to share a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,” it read, “but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
CNN has reached out to Hart’s team and the Academy for a response.
This is not the only time Hart has addressed controversy over social media. Last year, he came forward to admit he had cheated on his pregnant wife, Eniko Parrish, ahead of an extortion plot. Months later, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office charged his former friend with using video evidence of Hart’s affair to attempt to extort him.
“I’m not going to allow a person to have financial gain off of my mistakes, and in this particular situation that was what was attempted,” Hart said. “I said I’d rather fess up to my mistakes.”
Hart’s movies include “Night School,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Ride Along.”