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Kevin Hart has stepped down as host of the Oscars next year after tweets emerged in which he used homophobic slurs.

The decision comes just three days after he was announced as host of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

Tweets originally posted between 2009 and 2011 resurfaced shortly after he was confirmed for the job, containing offensive language towards the LGBT community.

The actor and comedian’s response to the outcry attracted a further backlash, as he wrote on Instagram that critics should “stop being negative”.

Kevin Hart said hosting the Oscars was the 'opportunity of a lifetime'
Kevin Hart has stepped down just days after he was announced as host

In an accompanying video, Hart said he wasn’t going to “let the craziness frustrate me” and added that he “loves everybody”.

In a second video, Hart said the Academy had asked him to apologise over the tweets but he “chose to pass” as he has “addressed this several times before”.

He said the “same energy that went into finding those old tweets could be the same energy put into finding the response” and that he did not want to have to explain again that he is a different person now.

“I passed 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.

Kevin Hart has let the Academy Awards presentation role go as he wants to put the entire controversy behind him


Hart: I’ve ‘moved on’ from homophobic tweets

“I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it, I’ve done it. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old. I’ve moved on, I’m in a completely different space in my life.

“The same energy that went into finding those old tweets could be the same energy put into finding the response to the questions that have been asked years after years after years.

“We feed internet trolls and reward them. I’m not going to do it, man. I’m going to be me, and I’m going to stand my ground.”

However, in a tweet he did apologise “for my insensitive words from the past”.

It comes after LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD reportedly contacted the Academy Awards broadcaster ABC, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and Hart’s management to “discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record”.

Hart said in a 2010 stand-up special that “if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”

He announced he was withdrawing himself from the role in the early hours of Friday morning, writing on Twitter: “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.”

He added in a follow-up post: “I’m sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so.”

Kevin Hart tweet
Hart says he has addressed “old tweets” previously

The awards ceremony will take place in February, with Hart describing the gig as the “opportunity of a lifetime” when he was made host.

The 39-year-old wrote: “I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars.

“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time.

“To be able to join the legendary list of hosts that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.”

A representative for the Oscars did not immediately respond to messages after Hart stepped down.

Now, speculation is growing as to who will take over as host.

Actress Busy Philipps has thrown her hat into the ring, and made a case for the host being female.

The controversy comes after several years of upset for the Oscars, following recognition of a diversity problem with the #OscarsSoWhite movement, and La La Land being mistakenly announced as the winner of best picture last year.

Next year’s ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday 24 February.

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Airline bans ’emotional support’ animals on long flights



An airline has banned “emotional support” animals from flights longer than eight hours.

Delta Air Lines says it is introducing the new rules after an 84% increase in animal incidents in 2016-17.

They include a passenger being attacked by a dog, as well as animals urinating and defecating while on-board.

The US airline is also introducing a ban on any animal under four months of age regardless of the length of the journey, including service animals which help people with disabilities.

The changes do not affect pets that customers pay to take into the cabin in enclosed carriers.

Delta says the new rules will take effect from 18 December.

Customers who had already bought tickets before the announcement will have their journey honoured until 1 February.

There have been incidents of animals on planes urinating and defecating. File pic
There have been incidents of animals on planes urinating and defecating. File pic

The airline is not alone in changing its rules on comfort animals, with others bringing in bans to restrict the type of animal allowed after goats, pigs and snakes were being brought on-board by passengers.

Delta requires passengers to prove their eligibility for emotional support animals with a form from a medical professional vouching for them.

They are different to trained service animals, which work to assist people with visual impairment, deafness, seizures and other limitations.

Both types of animals fly for free and are not required to be caged during the flight.

John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president for corporate safety, security and compliance, said: “These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs, such as veterans with disabilities, to travel with trained service and support animals.”

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Chocolate factory spillage ‘repaves’ German road



A mishap at a German chocolate factory “repaved” a road with a thick, brown pathway after a ton of the sticky stuff escaped and flowed on to the street.

The spillage quickly solidified and around 25 firefighters in the town of Westoennen were forced to hack away at it with shovels.

Bosses at the DreiMeister factory blamed “a small technical defect” for Monday night’s incident, according to German newspaper Soester Anzeiger.

Spilt chocolate is cleared from a road in Werl, Germany
Firefighters attacked the rogue chocolate with shovels

The chocolate seeped into the pores of the road and there were worries it would be a hazard, so hot water was used to removed the final thin layer.

The local authority closed the road and set up oil warning signs while the clean-up took place, the newspaper reported.

Owner of the factory Marus Luckey said it would have been a “catastrophe” had the spill occurred closer to Christmas, but that things would be back to normal on Wednesday.

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Fastest-moving animal in the world is… an ant



The fastest-moving animal in the world has been revealed – and scientists say speed isn’t always influenced by size.

Known as the dracula ant, its jaws snap shut 5,000 times faster than the blink of an eye at 200mph.

The tiny insect is comfortably ahead of the cheetah, whose record running speed is 60mph.

Researchers believe the ants, found in Africa, Australia and southeast Asia, use their rapidly accelerating jaws to smash into potential prey.

Entomologist Professor Andrew Suarez, from the University of Illinois, said: “Their powerful jaws work like a mousetrap, except the latch and spring mechanism are all in one.

“The ants use this motion to smack other arthropods, likely stunning them, smashing them against a tunnel wall or pushing them away.”

Instead of pushing their jaws together, dracula ants slide one across the other in a motion that takes 23 microseconds.

He added: “Even among ants that power-amplify their jaws, the dracula ants are unique – instead of using three different parts for the spring, latch and lever arm, all three are combined in the mandible.”

They use venom to stun their prey which are then brought back to the colony for the larvae to feed upon.

They are called dracula ants after Count Dracula, the fictional vampire, due to their unusual feeding habits.

Queens and workers practice a form of “non-destructive cannablism”, which involves chewing holes into and feeding on the haemolymph, insect “blood”, of the colony’s own pupae and larvae.

Dracula ants were discovered in 1994 – and at 200mph, their jaw motion is three times faster than trap-jaw ants – the previous record-holders.

The findings were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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