Kevin Hart stepping down from hosting the Oscars

Actor Kevin Hart speaks onstage during CinemaCon 2016 as Universal Pictures Invites You to an Exclusive Product Presentation Highlighting its Summer of 2016 and Beyond at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 13, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon)

NEW YORK — 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. Some of the tweets have since been deleted.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” Hart said via 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.

CNN has reached out to Hart’s team and the Academy for a response.