(Bloomberg) -- Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the 91st Academy Awards following a public outcry over his past anti-gay comments.

Hart, 39, announced his decision on Friday on Twitter and said he didn’t want to be a distraction for the event. He apologized to the LGBTQ community for his "insensitive words" and said his goal is to bring people together.

Hart, who has starred in box office hits such as “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Central Intelligence,” initially refused to apologize for a number of his old tweets using homophobic language after being asked to do so by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He posted a video response on Instagram, which he then shared to Twitter, explaining his decision not to apologize at the time.

Earlier this week, the actor-comedian announced that he would host the star-studded event. His inclusion was meant to reinvigorate a show that attracted the lowest ever viewership last year.

The 2019 Academy Awards will be held on February 24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Cheok in Singapore at mcheok2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Niluksi Koswanage at nkoswanage@bloomberg.net

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