Kevin Hart is officially out as an Oscars host after refusing to apologize for homophobic tweets, though there may have been other factors that contributed to the comedian losing the high-profile gig.
While Hart stepped down from hosting after declining to issue an apology for his past words, it's also possible that the lawsuit he is currently involved in played a role in the comedian stepping away from the position of emcee.
The 39-year-old is being sued by iGo Marketing & Entertainment, who claimed that they had entered into a deal with him to negotiate marketing and celebrity tie-in deals on his behalf, with the deal allegedly giving them 15 percent on any deals they negotiated for Hart.
The company claims that they negotiated numerous deals for the comedian over the years and things went smoothly until 2015, when they made a deal for Hart with Rally Healthcare, which was reportedly a three-year deal that allowed Hart to be paid in cash and stock options.
Hart terminated his deal with iGo in 2015, though iGo says the termination did not mean Hart could stop paying them the commission they were owed for deals they secured. The company alleges that Hart did not pay commission on the third year option of the Rally deal or for the value of the stock option.
iGo is suing Hart for breach of contract and is seeking $1.8 million.
Hart had attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed, but a judge denied his request, according to court documents obtained by The Blast. The case is tentatively scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 17, 2019.
The comedian was announced as Oscars host on Tuesday, and after a public backlash arrived due to Hart's prior tweets, Hart addressed the controversy in a video shared to Instagram after a number of the tweets in question were deleted.
“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago,'” Hart said in the clip. “Guys, I’m nearly 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify the past, do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”
In another video shared hours later, Hart revealed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had told him to apologize or risk being outed as host. In his video, Hart explained his decision not to apologize.
“I chose to pass on the apology,” he said. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. 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 place in my life.”0comments
He followed that with a tweet sharing that he had stepped down as host.
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....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.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
Photo Credit: Getty / Daniel Zuchnik