Kevin Hart’s abrupt departure as host of the 2019 Oscars has the Academy in full-on panic mode.
The comedian announced he was stepping down from his role as host on Thursday after a number of homophobic and transphobic tweets resurfaced online.
Hart broke the news on Twitter:
The backlash against Hart had celebrities and the general public split. Kathy Griffin lashed out at Hart’s tweets from years ago, while Nick Cannon defended Hart by sharing old homophobic tweets from Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Chelsea Handler.
The Academy were already running out time when they announced Hart as MC for the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24.
“They’re freaking out,” a top comedy agent reportedly told Variety. The Academy had hoped a sincere apology from Hart would be enough and dreaded the idea of him pulling out. They are reportedly nervous about bringing in anyone else who might be considered “off the cuff” or edgy.
One idea floating about is to have no host. Instead, Oscars 2019 might feature “a bunch of huge celebs, something ‘SNL’ style, and buzzy people to throw to commercial,” according to an insider.
Whatever the final product, the Academy has exactly two and a half months to figure it out.